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‘Neocons Furious’: US-Iran Naval Incident Resolved in Less Than 24 Hours


Most in America were happy when Tehran promptly released ten US sailors, who were detained when their two boats drifted in Iran’s territorial waters on Tuesday; but US hardliners were furious.

“If you think about the [US] bases that surround Iran, you can understand why [the Islamic Republic] would be concerned when a heavily armed naval vessel ventures into Iranian territory,” political analyst Daniel McAdams asserted in the latest Liberty Report.

Yet the incident, which could potentially lead to a major crisis, lasted less than 24 hours because it was handled effectively by both sides, he added.

“You’d think that we would celebrate diplomacy. But the neocons and most of the presidential candidates won’t have it that way. They are furious,” he said.

Senator John McCain tried to present the unauthorized trespassing into Iranian waters as a violation of international law. Although US officials repeatedly stated that Iran was acting within its rights, the Chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee remained defiant.

​ McCain’s main argument revolves around the principle enshrined in international law. It says that all ships, including military vessels, have a right to “conduct innocent passage” in the territorial seas of another state. But could Tuesday’s incident be described as an innocent passage?Award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald has recently pointed out that we still don’t know what exactly happened in the Persian Gulf on January 12. Indeed, US officials offered two conflicting versions of events. The first said that one of the boats had a mechanical failure, but this was later ruled out.

According to the second version, it was a navigational error in waters that these sailors should know well. So until the innocence of the passage is proved, Iran cannot be blamed for detaining the sailors. The UN Convention on Law of the Sea explicitly states that “the coastal State may take necessary steps in its territorial sea to prevent passage which is not innocent.”

McAdams also recalled how different the neocon reaction was when last November Turkey downed a Russian bomber, which was involved in an anti-Daesh mission in Syria.

“It’s interesting to talk about hypocrisy of US foreign policy. When Russia may or may not have ventured slightly into Turkey’s airspace and Turkey shot down [the Su-24], the US response was, well, Turkey has a right to defend its airspace. And on this circumstance – when it’s the Iranians defending their territory – all of a sudden it’s horrible, how dare they do it,” McAdams pointed out.

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