Secretary of State John Kerry – who served in Vietnam – thanked Iran this morning for releasing the U.S. sailors that they detained yesterday.
“I want to express my gratitude to Iranian authorities for their cooperation in swiftly resolving this matter,” Kerry said in a short statement.
He added that he was particularly attuned to the situation reminding the nation that he was “a former sailor myself” and understood the importance of Naval power.
Kerry signaled that the incident was not a sign of provocation, but rather a symbol of how the two countries could work together after Iranian nuclear deal.
“That this issue was resolved peacefully and efficiently is a testament to the critical role diplomacy plays in keeping our country safe, secure, and strong,” he said.
On Tuesday, hours before President Obama’s final State of the Union Address, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) seized two Navy vessels and abducted their crew, a total of nine men a one woman. IRGC officials confiscated the two Navy vessels and their GPS equipment, and held the soldiers overnight. Iran released the soldiers Wednesday morning, along with a series of photographs of the soldiers in captivity.
In addition to Kerry’s statement of gratitude to the Iranian government following the incident, the BBC reported that the United States government officially apologized to Iran for unnamed “unprofessional” acts by the American sailors alleged by the Iranian officials, though this report comes from Iranian officials and is yet to be corroborated by the United States.