'Iran’s treatment of sailors will shock America'

Rep. Randy Forbes says the classified details behind Iran’s treatment of the sailors it captured in January will surprise many Americans.

Ben Ariel ,

Randy Forbes
Randy Forbes

The classified details behind Iran’s treatment of several American sailors who were captured by the country in January are likely to shock the nation, Rep. Randy Forbes, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told the Washington Free Beacon on Monday.

Forbes (R-VA) told the news website that the Obama administration is still keeping details of the maritime incident under wraps, and it could be a year or longer before the American public receives a full accounting of the incident, in which several U.S. sailors were abducted at gunpoint by the Iranian military.

“I’ve had a full classified briefing” from military officials, Forbes told the Free Beacon. “It could be as long as a year before we actually get that released.”

Details of the abduction are likely to start an uproar in the nation and call into question the Obama administration’s handling of the incident, which many experts say violated international and maritime law, he added.

“I think that when the details actually come out, most Americans are going to be kind of taken aback by the entire incident, both how Iran handled it and how we handled it,” Forbes disclosed. “I think that’s going to be huge cause for concern for most Americans. That’s why I’ve encouraged members of Congress to get that briefing so they do know exactly what did take place.”

In the incident in January, 10 sailors were captured and briefly detained by Iran, which released them a day later, claiming the U.S. "apologized" for the incident, as per Tehran's demands.

Iran took advantage of the incident to publicly humiliate the United States, publishing embarrassing photos of the American soldiers in tears while in captivity.

Forbes suggested to the Free Beacon that Iran’s treatment of the U.S. sailors may have been much worse than what has been publicly reported.

“I think clearly there were violations of international and maritime law that took place here,” he told the news website. “We [the United States] did almost nothing in response, in fact, to have Secretary [of State John] Kerry actually thank them for releasing our sailors after the way they captured them, I think was a slap in the sailors’ face.”

Forbes is pushing a new measure that would increase sanctions on Tehran for its treatment of the U.S. sailors in order to hold Iran accountable for its aggressive behavior, he said.

The measure outlines a range of Iranian aggressions against U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region.

Forbes’ comments come a week after the Navy officer who oversaw the 10 sailors who were captured was relieved of his duties due to what was described as "loss of confidence" in his ability.

Congress must take action to hold Iran accountable for its aggressive military behavior, Forbes said.

“These kind of actions undermine stability in the Gulf,” he told the Free Beacon. “And they raise the danger of inadvertent escalation.”

“I think it goes without saying that if that’s the case and they won’t stop that activity, all of that should at least be considered and debated as part of any Iran sanctions bill that may come up in the future.”