Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that “all indications” show the Navy sailors taken into Iranian custody Tuesday were “well taken care of,” and he thanked the Iranian authorities for their “cooperation and quick response.”
Speaking at the National Defense University, Kerry appeared to trumpet the sort of discussions that led to the Iran nuclear deal as the diplomatic opening allowing this particular situation not to escalate further. However, Iran state television released embarrassing photos of the U.S. sailors that the rogue nation captured after their boats reportedly drifted into Iranian waters.
“I could not be and I know the president could not be prouder of our men and women in uniform,” Kerry said. “I also want to thank the Iranian authorities for their cooperation and quick response. These are always situations which, as everybody here knows, have an ability, if not properly guided, to get out of control, and I’m appreciative for the quick and appropriate response of the Iranian authorities.
“All indications suggest or tell us that our sailors were well taken care of, provided with blankets and food, and assisted with their return to the fleet earlier today. I think we can all imagine how a similar situation might have played out three or four years ago, and in fact, it is clear that today this kind of issue was able to be peacefully resolved and efficiently resolved, and that is a testament to the critical role that diplomacy plays in keeping our country safe, secure and strong.”
In addition to the photos of the capture, which showed the sailors with their hands on their heads, the female sailor who was caught was apparently made to wear a Muslim headscarf.