Mideast US Iran Talking Tough
FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2011file photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) transits the Straits...
FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2011file photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) transits the Straits of Hormuz. The Pentagon on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012 answered an Iranian warning to keep U.S. aircraft carriers out of the Persian Gulf by declaring that American warships will continue regularly scheduled deployments to the strategic waterway. During a graduation at Iran's main army academy, the country's leader effectively sketched out the Islamic Republic's tougher military posture. Iran's must never hesitate to display its power in a hard-edged world where the weak pay the price, he told the newly minted officers. Less than two months later, Khamenei words were echoed by commanders who warned that Iran could block oil tanker shipping lanes in the Gulf in retaliation for sanctions and described foreign forces _ including a recent visit by an U.S. aircraft carrier _ as unwelcome interlopers in the region. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Petty Officer 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate, File)
US Navy Iran
In this Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012 photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) responds to a distress call from the ...
In this Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012 photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) responds to a distress call from the master of the Iranian-flagged fishing dhow Al Molai, who claimed he was being held captive by pirates in the Arabian Sea. A U.S. Navy team boarded the ship Thursday and detained 15 pirates who had been holding the 13-member Iranian crew hostage and were using the vessel as a "mother ship" for pirating operations in the Persian Gulf. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy)
The US Navy said it rescued 13 Iranian fishermen held hostage by pirates in the Northern Arabian Sea.
The US Navy announced Friday that it detained 15 suspected Somalis pirates aboard a fishing vessel, the Al Molai, on Thursday after receiving a distress call from the vessel.
“The Al Molai had been taken over by pirates for roughly the last 40-45 days,” Josh Schminky, a Navy Criminal Investigative Service agent, said in the statement.
“After securing the ship and ensuring the safety of all persons on board, we began distributing food and water to both the crew and the suspected criminals as is our standard practice in counter-piracy operations,” Schminky said.
The Navy responds to piracy and it didn’t matter that the fishing vessel was Iranian, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in an interview for the “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley.”
While there was no immediate response from the Iranian government, Panetta said, “It makes it very clear to them that, despite how much they often try to provoke us, the United States in this kind of situation is going to respond as we should in a very humanitarian and responsible way.”
Iran concluded its naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz on Jan 3. Iranian Army Chief, General Ataollah Salehi, warned the Aircraft Carrier USS John C Stennis not to return to the Persian Gulf.
“We recommend to the American warship that passed through the Strait of Hormuz and went to Gulf of Oman not to return to the Persian Gulf,” Salehi was cited as saying by the state-run Fars news agency.
Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi also warned last month that Iran would block the Strait of Hormuz if further sanctions are imposed to prevent Iranian oil exports.
The US said it will continue operations in and around the Persian Gulf.