The White House said Friday it was not troubled by Iran’s exploitation of a video showing captured U.S. sailors blindfolded and kneeling at gunpoint by Iranian forces.
“I don’t think there’s any reason for anybody to be embarrassed,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. “We’re pleased that our sailors were released promptly and unharmed.”
Mr. Earnest said Iran’s showing of the video does not violate the Geneva Conventions, which prohibits the exploitation of prisoners of war, because the U.S. and Iran are not at war.
The 10 sailors were detained by Iran earlier this week after their U.S. Navy boats strayed into Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf. They were released about 14 hours later, unharmed, after negotiations between Secretary of State John F. Kerry and his Iranian counterpart.
Mr. Earnest said Republican lawmakers overreacted to the incident by calling on President Obama to delay his State of the Union address or even to take military action against iran.
If the administration followed the advice of its critics, Mr. Earnest said, “We’d probably be in a bloody war with Iran right now over our sailors.”
“I think the only people who are unhappy about it are the Republicans,” he said of the resolution of the episode. “It underscores the value of responsible, mature presidential leadership. The president didn’t start a war over this.”