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Cotton Statement on the Obama Administration’s Statements Regarding Iran’s Detention of Ten American Sailors

January 13, 2016

Contact: Caroline Rabbitt (202) 224-2353

Washington, D.C.- Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today released the following statement on the Obama administration's statements regarding Iran's detention of ten American sailors:

"The administration's statements today regarding Iran's actions at sea are disappointing, but not surprising. Before we thank the Iranian naval forces and attempt to defend and normalize their behavior, as Vice President Biden and Secretaries Kerry and Carter appear inclined to do, we should demand answers to certain questions about their behavior. Among them: Where exactly were the sailors intercepted? Why were they detained instead of being merely escorted into international waters? What was the nature of the technical malfunctions on both vessels? What is the condition of our boats? Was sensitive equipment compromised? Why were the sailors not permitted to contact U.S. higher headquarters in the region for the 16 hours they were detained?

"I'm also curious why American officials would characterize Iran as assisting a distressed vessel when Iran has characterized the incident as U.S. ships trespassing into its waters and ‘snooping.' Iran does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. Until we have answers to these questions, we should not be rationalizing Iran's behavior in an incident that was highly abnormal. Our sailors never should have been detained in the first place, and blithely accepting such action will only embolden the IRGC and the ayatollahs who wish to do harm to Americans and our allies in the Arabian Gulf."