Iran

Iran Releases US Sailors Who Accidentally Entered Iranian Waters

Said an investigation confirmed it was only an error.

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Tasmin News

Yesterday, ten U.S. sailors from two Navy patrol boats were seized (rescued, according to Iran) by Iranian authorities after the boats entered Iranian waters near Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf, bringing the warboners out.

Secretary of State John Kerry told the press last night that he spoke to Iran's foreign minister, with whom, along with ministers from Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and China, he negotiated the Iran nuclear deal over the last several years. Kerry said that Iran's foreign minister promised him a speedy return of the sailors.

That may have caused a bit of a political dilemma in Iran, because the sailors and their boats were taken by the Revolutionary Guard's navy, not the military. The Revolutionary Guard is part of Iran's conservative ruling class, and it opposed the nuclear deal the civilian government negotiated. So last night, Revolutionary Guard Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi called reports of a speedy release "speculation," saying an investigation would have to take place, and claiming Iran's foreign minister demanded an apology from Kerry.

But a few hours later the investigation was over. After initially saying the Guard had confiscated GPS systems from the sailors that would show they were spying, Fadavi eventually stated authorities had confirmed the boats entered Iran's waters accidentally due to mechanical navigational error, and that an order would be issued releasing the sailors. The sailors, and their boats, which reportedly did not contain any sensitive technologies, were released to the U.S. earlier this morning. The Pentagon said it would conduct its own investigation to figure out how the boats made it into Iranian waters. The U.S. does conduct surveillance operations on Iran regularly in the Persian Gulf, and Iran also conducts surveillance operations of those surveillance operations.

The incident is not expected to affect implementation of the nuclear deal, which was supposed to start as early as later this week. Critics of the Obama administration took the opportunity to use the incident, which appears to have de-escalated thanks to efforts on both sides, as proof the Obama administration was "weak."

But, as The Telegraph's chief foreign correspondent pointed out, Iran's actions this time around are markedly different from its recent past. In 2007, Iran detained 15 British sailors it said had entered its territory, holding them for 12 days and using their release as propaganda. The change may not be an isolated incident. When protesters attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran, Iranian authorities condemned the attack and said they were launching a full investigation. The British didn't get that kind of response when their mission was targeted in 2011.

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  1. And the warmongers were sad.

    1. Not released fast enough. Bomb ’em.

      1. Sink their Navy!

        1. Why give them the excuse?

  2. The U.S. does conduct surveillance operations on Iran regularly in the Persian Gulf, and Iran also conducts surveillance operations of those surveillance operations.

    It’s surveillance operations all the way down!

    1. “Does anyone remember why we’re surveiling their surveilence?”

      “Because they were surveiling our surveilence.”

      “What was anyone looking at in the first place?”

      *dismissive shrug*

      1. I dub thee Sir Veil.

        1. Don’t look behind it.

  3. Awww, but I really wanted to find out if sand glows!

    1. Criticism of any of the high polling Republican candidates means you are a crypto-Democrat.

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  4. *Whew*

    That is a relief, and a pleasant surprise. Glad these guys are back.

  5. This was handled entirely too reasonably by both sides. Where was the saber rattling? The moving of Navy assets? The dueling maps? It’s like we don’t actually want to go to war or something…

    1. Different take on reasonableness:

      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/…..us-sailors

      I know…zerohedge.

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  7. “… mechanical navigational error….”?

    Sounds like the navigator was over-relying on GPS and not keeping a TSD plot as a back-up/confirmational tool.

    It’s hell when Ms. Garmin has her electrons go ON STRIKE.

  8. They released them because they got what they needed. Images on Iranian TV showing members of the US Military on their knees, surrendering to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, images of the same Sailors being transported blindfolded into custody. Images of seized US arms and electronics, and video of the hostages apologizing to their captors. I would happily go through the rest of my life without having to see that again.

  9. it’s very possible Iran CAUSED this incident by spoofing the GPS in that area,to deliberately cause the US boats to believe they were on course,while in reality,they were entering Iranian waters. So they could be seized and America once again embarrassed and forced to apologize. Iran has boasted about having GPS spoofing and jamming systems.
    I’ve heard Iran kept the GPS systems from the boats,the only reason for that would be so they could not be examined to uncover evidence of spoofing signals. After all,how would BOTH boats GPS systems fail at the same time?

    1. No dude.

      1 – We don’t rely solely on GPS. The boats would have taken radar and visual bearings that close to (hostile) land. This isn’t just standard procedure but something that would have been specifically briefed pre-mission as part of our ORM procedures to limit risk.

      2 – The US boats didn’t *cruise into* Iranian waters. Mechanical breakdown and the boats drifted near enough that the IRG said ‘close enough’ and nabbed them.

      3. The GPS receivers would have shown no evidence of spoofing as GPS receivers do not retain a record of the signals they receive. They do show current position and track but a simple ‘turn it off and turn it on again’ would be enough to clear that if there were any obvious discontinuities in the track. But then the crew would have noticed the discontinuity in their reported position beforehand.

  10. I know the last time I “rescued” a boat in distress the first thing I did was make all the occupants kneel at gunpoiint, and then posted pictures of it.

    Maybe someone should ask Kerry how Persian ass tastes.

    1. You can pose the question. Getting an answer likely will be a different story.

  11. Common Sense wins out, sometimes.

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