A senior US officer in the Persian Gulf expressed surprise at how easily a team of Britsh sailors were taken captive by Iran on Friday, saying that US soldiers would have fired on the Iranian forces, the British newspaper The Independent reported on Monday. "The unique US Navy rules of engagement say we not only have a right to self-defence but also an obligation to self-defense," Lt.-Cmdr. Erik Horner, who has been working with the British task force in the region, told the newspaper. "They [the British] had every right in my mind and every justification to defend themselves rather than allow themselves to be taken. Our reaction was, 'Why didn't your guys defend themselves?'"