Did The US Government 'Play Too Nice' With Iran To Get Sailors Back?

The U.S. government is being criticized for how it handled Iran after two Navy boats were seized for entering their territorial waters and sailors were held overnight.

Vice President Joe Biden found himself in a bit of a conundrum when he claimed Iran didn't receive an apology from the U.S. just before Iranian state TV released a video of hostage Navy sailors apologizing. 

“It was a mistake, it was our fault, and we apologize for our mistake,” the unnamed sailor was recorded saying while being held in Iranian custody.

Read More: Iran Holds 10 US Sailors; White House Expects Prompt Return

They were apologizing for crossing into the country’s territorial waters before being seized and held overnight.

One of the two Navy boats that was taken into Iranian custody reportedly suffered a mechanical issue.

“There was nothing to apologize for,” Biden reportedly told CBS News. “When you have a problem with the boat you apologize the boat had a problem? No, and there was no looking for any apology. This was just standard nautical practice.”

The sailors are to be debriefed in Bahrain. Among the questions being asked is whether the sailor who apologized did so under duress, according to The Daily Beast.

Just before the apology video was released, Secretary of State John Kerry issued a thank you to Iran for the swift return of our men.

“I want to thank the Iranian authorities for their cooperation and quick response. These are always situations which everybody here knows have an ability, if not properly guided, to get out of control,” he said.

Biden, Kerry and the whole Obama administration are now being criticized for “playing too nice” with the Iranians. 

“Iranians are going to use this for massive propaganda,” Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter reportedly told The Daily Beast. “This is a state sponsor of terror that has been sanctioned by the entire Western world. They are now going to run commercials on their TV of sailors apologizing.

People were also disturbed that President Barack Obama didn’t even mention the whole ordeal during his Farewell State of The Union address, even though it happened that same day.

Furthermore, U.S. officials were assuring Americans that the sailors were being treated well, however, one of the video clips shows sailors’ hands on the back of their heads, seemingly being treated more like captives than guests. 

Contrary to those images, there is another video clip of the group of sailors enjoying a friendly-looking Iranian dinner. 

It appears from the videos that the sailors weren't tortured or physically abused but that doesn't mean they weren't threatened into an apology. 

The apology seems tactical, especially as it was released just after U.S. officials claimed that Iran didn't even ask for an apology.

With the GOP presidential candidates relying heavily on fear-mongering to gain supporters, the last thing the Democratic Party needed was more ammo for the right-wing to make the current administration seem weak and untrustworthy. 

Recommended: US Navy Rescues 13 Iranian Fishermen Held By Pirates

Banner and thumbnail credit: Handout via Reuters

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