Naval commander surrendered to Iran to protect nuclear deal

The commander in charge of the naval vessels that strayed into Iranian waters and were captured last January surrendered his command because he thought his sailors would be safe because Iran "wanted the nuclear deal to go through."

This is only one of several revelations found in the 170-page report issued by the Pentagon about the incident.  The commander's name was redacted from the report.

Washington Times:

In an interview with investigators looking into the January incident, the commander said he surrendered the vessels after calculating that his sailors would not be in danger because Iran “wants this nuke deal to go through.”

The interview was one of several stunning revelations in the often scathing 170-page report compiled by Navyinvestigators, chronicling the chain of events that led to the apprehension and detention of the 10 American sailors by the Iranian military after a pair of U.S. patrol boats drifted into the country’s sovereign waters in the Persian Gulf.

The incident, which played out as President Obama was preparing his State of the Union address, proved deeply embarrassing to the U.S. military and roiled diplomatic relations between Tehran and Washington as they were trying to implement key measures in the deal to curb Iran’s suspect nuclear programs.

Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, said Thursday that the mishandling of the incident resulted from “the accumulation of a number of small problems” created by the U.S. sailors who strayed into Iranian waters all the way up to the senior commanders who led the Navy squadron and task force under which the unit served.

While contending Iran also violated international law with rough handling of its American captives, “this incident did not live up to our expectations of our Navy,” Adm. Richardson said.

America has been at war with Iran since 1979 at least, Tehran thinks so.  The commander put a childlike faith in the thinking that the nuclear deal would protect his personnel.  He also didn't want to "start a war" despite the fact that Iran has been ordering terrorist attacks against American military personnel for more than a decade.

Heavily outgunned and outnumbered by members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Navy commander — whose name was redacted from the report — told investigators he calculated that Tehran’s desire to keep the nuclear deal with the U.S. alive would also protect the 10 American sailors if they surrendered.

“I didn’t want to start a war with Iran. … I didn’t want to start a war that would get people killed,” the commander said.

“I guess this was a gamble on my part. … I made the gamble that they were not going to kill us. 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.”

His act of surrender could have easily resulted in what he claims he was trying to avoid a war.  As it is, his skewed thinking handed the Iranians their biggest propaganda victory ever.

I hope this commander was one of the nine officers cashiered as a result of this humiliation. 

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