- (Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)
In a dramatic show of humanity, the United States Navy has rescued 13 Iranians held captive by Somali pirates. The rescue comes amid tense relations between Iran and the U.S.
According to reports, a Navy helicopter aboard the USS John C. Stennis received and responded to a distress call from a ship being attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Oman. The Navy followed a smaller boat until it reached its final destination, which was the ship it had taken captive.
Once on board, the Navy moved in and were able to free 13 Iranians who were the original crew of the ship. They had been taken hostage by a team of 15 Somali pirates in November. Josh Schminky, a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent, reported, “When we boarded, we gave [the Iranians] food, water, and medical care. They had been through a lot. We went out of our way to treat the fishing crew with kindness and respect.”
He added, “The Captain expressed his sincere gratitude that we came to assist them. He was afraid that without our help, they could have been there for months.”
The rescue could help foster relations between the two countries, which have been strained by military drills and threats. Iran, however, has agreed to meet with the United Nations to discuss its nuclear program, which many fear could be used against Israel or other U.S. bases in the area.