Jan. 15, 2016
Iranian Officials: Capture of Sailors a Display of Power over U.S. – Russ Read (Daily Caller)
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi and Chairman of Iran’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi used Iranian mediaThursday to commend the recent capture and release of ten U.S. sailors and their two riverine boats.
“This is a sign of our might,” Araqchi saidWednesday to Iran’sFars News.
Boroujerdi wrote to Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, the commander of the forces who apprehended the sailors, calling his move “brave.”
He also noted that the apprehension is a sign that Iran controls the security of the Persian Gulf.
See also Tehran to Washington: I Control the Gulf(MEMRI)
After Iranian authorities arrested 10 American sailors on Jan. 12, the Lebanese dailyAl-Akhbar, which is affiliated with Hizbullah, argued that the Revolutionary Guards were sending a message to the U.S. that Iran will be willing to clash with it, and at the same time telling the Gulf states not to mess with Iran.
Al-Akhbar’s Jan. 14 front page showed the photo of the American sailors kneeling with hands on their heads, under the headline “Tehran to Washington: I Control the Gulf.”
U.S. Thanks Iran for Resolving the Crisis It Created – Eli Lake
After the return of 10 U.S. sailors from Iranian custody on Wednesday, a senior State Department official briefed reporters about five phone calls between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif. When British sailors were detained in 2007 by Iran in a similar incident, it took nearly two weeks for Iran to release them. In this case it took less than a day.
But Iran’s handling of the situation violated international norms, and to pretend otherwise is to define deviancy down. If the two small U.S. sea craft transiting between Kuwait and Bahrain strayed into Iranian territorial waters because of a mechanical failure, international maritime law spells out the appropriate response – and in a situation like this, it does not give Iran the right to board these boats or detain the sailors, as the Iranian navy did.
Senator John McCain, a former Navy pilot, pointed out: “Under international law, sovereign immune vessels like navy ships and boats do not lose their sovereign immune status when they are in distress at sea. Under international law, sovereign immune naval vessels are exempt from detention, boarding, or search. Their crews are not subject to detention or arrest.” (Bloomberg)