Sen. [crscore]John McCain[/crscore] threatened President Barack Obama Sunday by saying he’ll drag the 10 U.S. Navy sailors captured by Iran before Congress if the administration doesn’t release full details about the incident.
McCain, chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, gave the Obama administration a hard deadline of March 1 to issue full details of the investigation, though he added he does not want to exercise the subpoena option against the sailors.
While the Navy has given McCain some amount of information, it clearly has not been enough to quell the senator’s interest.
“I guarantee you, if they don’t have a debrief by the first of March like they said, we’ll have a hearing and we’ll subpoena. We’re not going to wait any longer,” McCain said, according to Reuters. “We will subpoena the individuals if we have to.”
McCain accused the administration of “dragging their feet” and also brought up the matter to Secretary of State John Kerry Saturday while in Germany.
In mid-January, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) seized two small U.S. Navy riverine crafts that had, due to apparent mechanical failure, ventured into Iranian territorial waters near Farsi Island. Although the sailors were delivered to U.S. authorities in about 16 hours and left unhurt, Iran exploited the incident and turned it into a major propaganda operation to humiliate America.
Iranian media released footage showing sailors apologizing to Iran and later also posted footage of the sailors crying — put to a horror music soundtrack. The one U.S. female sailor captured was forced to wear a hijab, and when captured, the sailors were shown on their knees with hands on their heads at gunpoint.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also issued medals to the IRGC captors.
The Obama administration has struggled to form a consistent response. Kerry applauded Iranian authorities for a swift return of the sailors and credited solid diplomatic relations as a product of the relationship forged from the Iranian nuclear deal. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, on the other hand, said the behavior of the Iranians made him incredibly angry.
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