The plot thickens around the 10 U.S. soldiers who were detained overnight by the Iranian government after two Navy boats entered Iranian territorial waters, a set of facts that both sides agree upon. The sailors have since been released, and as more video and images of their captivity trickle out, Iranian state television has released a video that shows one of the sailors admitting an unspecified mistake, and apologizing for it:
— Abas Aslani (@abasinfo) January 13, 2016
It was a mistake, it was our fault, and we apologize for our mistake.
This video apology was delivered despite Vice President Joe Biden‘s insistence that the U.S. government offered no apology, and Iran had sought none.
Vice President Biden: One of the boats had engine failure and drifted into Iranian waters. The iranians picked up both boats, as we have picked up Iranian boats that needed to be rescued and took them to — I’m not sure exactly where. I don’t want to misspeak here. And realized they were there and distressed, and said they would release them, and they released them like ordinary nations would do. That is the way nations should do it, and that is why it’s important should have channels open.
Charlie Rose: Should we apologize to the Iranians?
Vice President Biden: No. when you have a problem with a boat? do you apologize the boat had problems? there is no looking for an apology. this was standard and nautical practice.
Biden was asked about an official apology from the U.S. government, of course, which is not the same thing as a sailor making a remark about an innocent mistake. So far, this all seems consistent with the U.S. government’s characterization of this event as a non-hostile one, although videotaping a captive sailor isn’t exactly a friendly action.
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