President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran was at the center of the decision by a Navy commander in charge of two patrol boats captured by the Persian Gulf country to surrender.
The incident took place in January, as Obama was preparing to give his State of the Union address.
In an interview with Navy investigators, the unidentified commander indicated that he gambled with the lives of his sailors because he was sure Iran “wants this nuke deal to go through,” according to the Washington Times.
And while his identity may be obscured, his affinity toward Obama is more apparent as he said he was concerned a confrontation with Iran could endanger the administration’s efforts to complete a nuclear deal with Tehran, the Times reported.
The commander said Obama “would not want me to start a war over a mistake, over a misunderstanding,” according to the Navy’s 170-page report.
A sailor said to be a commander of one of the patrol boats admitted to the “mistake” while making an apology on camera – in making “statements adverse to U.S. interests,” the sailor may have violated code of conduct standards.
“It was a mistake that was our fault and we apologize for our mistake,” the sailor said. “It was a misunderstanding. We did not mean to go into Iranian territorial water. The Iranian behavior was fantastic while we were here. We thank you very much for your hospitality and your assistance.”
The U.S. vessels were “heavily outgunned and outnumbered,” the Times reported, and the commander was in no hurry to engage in hostilities.
“I didn’t want to start a war with Iran. … I didn’t want to start a war that would get people killed,” he said.
“I guess this was a gamble on my part. … I made the gamble that they were not going to kill us,” the commander continued.” I made the gamble they were not going to parade us around like prisoners of war because they want this nuke deal to go through.”
Of course, Iran did “parade” around photos of the U.S. service members on their knees with their hands behind their heads. In a further effort to humiliate the Americans, a senior Iranian military official said the captured sailors “started crying after [their] arrest.”
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