The Navy has fired the commander who was responsible for the 10 sailors captured by Iran in January for a period of 15 hours.
Commander Eric Rasch will now be reassigned, reports The Associated Press. Navy Officials cited several reasons for firing Rasch under the umbrella of lost confidence in anonymous comments to the AP, including failure to provide proper leadership, failing to properly oversee the situation and not keeping up with standards.
Details of Rasch’s conduct are unknown at this point, specifically in regards to how he did not provide adequate leadership. The incident, which occurred in January after two U.S. Navy riverine patrol boats ended up in Iranian territorial waters off Farsi Island, sparked a major public relations disaster for the Obama administration.
Even though Obama officials had worked tirelessly to curry Iranian favor with the Iran deal, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps humiliated the sailors. Iranian state media broadcasted images of sailors kneeling at gunpoint, a video of a sailor crying, as well as another sailor issuing an apology to Iran. The female sailor was forced to wear a hijab.
Administration takes on the issue varied. Secretary of State John Kerry emphasized the solid relations between the two countries based on the fact that the sailors were returned in 15 hours from start to finish. He thanked the Iranians for their cooperation and hinted at the nuclear deal as the central reason for such friendly relations, which merited a heated response from GOP Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services. McCain said the belief the “Iranian nuclear deal somehow aided in these sailors’ return is ridiculous.”
“This administration’s craven desire to preserve the dangerous Iranian nuclear deal at all costs evidently knows no limit,” he added.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, on the other hand, was furious at Iran’s treatment of the 10 sailors. He stated it made him “very, very angry.” For Carter, parading the sailors around on state television was “really not okay.”
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