Although most of what Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says is usually insignificant, this time he has hit the nail on the head. Commenting on the capture of 10 U.S. marines by Iran, he wondered if Iran would have dared to do the same if the ships were Russian.
It is clear that the Iranian authorities deliberately arrested and humiliated the soldiers before they were released. Tehran was confident that the consequences of this adventure would be benign. It is common for ships to enter territorial waters by mistake and then get guided out.
Iran did not stop at arresting those who were onboard. Photos showing 10 soldiers surrendering and waving their hands above their heads were quickly circulated by the country’s official news agencies. While in captivity, the soldiers were interrogated by Iran’s official media, urging them to admit that they had entered Iranian waters by mistake and that they apologize for their actions. The idea was to humiliate them.
It is difficult to believe that the Iranian leadership did not learn of the incident until at a later stage and then intervened for their release. The anger towards Iran for launching a missile close to another American aircraft carrier three weeks ago is still echoing in Congress and the U.S. media. It is typical that Iranian naval decisions, such as detaining vessels or arresting U.S. personnel, turn into a political tussle at higher levels, considering the tensions that prevail in Gulf waters.
No signs of change
The supreme leader's complete authority has caused a lot of frustration for all former Iranian presidentsAbdulrahman al-Rashed