Tensions between Iran and the United States worsened toward the end of December when the Iranian government threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow waterway that separates the Persian Gulf from the Gulf of Oman. Its size, however, does not give its importance justice. The strait is easily the most important oil checkpoint in the world. Most of the oil that passes through the Strait of Hormuz goes to the United States, Asia, and Western Europe, so the U.S. is understandably closely monitoring the situation.
Only days after Tehran warned the United States that they should not send their ships through the Persian Gulf, the U.S. did. Whether or not this was an arrogant move, it turned out to be a blessing for Iran. On January 6, 2012, a U.S.Navy destroyer received a distress call from the Iranian ship. The captain initially denied that they were being held captive, but then began speaking in Urdu. The destroyer has a translator on board who spoke Urdu, and they discovered that 13 Iranian fishermen were being held captive by 15 Somali pirates. The pirates had boarded the ship more than a month ago and were using it as a base from which they could attack other ships.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is quoted as saying When we get a distress signal, we’re going to respond.” For that moment, it didn’t matter whether the fishermen were from an enemy country or our best ally.
On Saturday, January 7, 2012, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said that “We consider the actions of the U.S. forces in saving the lives of Iranian seamen to be a humanitarian and positive act.”
Its nice to see the United States and Iran being cordial, and even helpful, to each other every once in a while. This incident did not lessen tensions regarding the Strait of Hormuz, as both countries insist they the rescue will not change their positions. It’s events like this, however, that remind me that we’re all human, and we should be willing to help each other instead of simply fighting.