Alwaght-It is one year since the capture of US Navy sailors by Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy.
On 12January 2016, two US Navy crafts carrying 10 Marines were detained by IRGC Navy after breaching Iran's waters surrounding the Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf.
Elaborating on the incident, Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy, said the two US Navy crafts carrying 10 Marines had only reached three miles into the waters surrounding the Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf.
Fadavi pointed out that the trespassing occurred because of technical problems with the navigation systems of the US vessels.
The IRGC released the sailors after a day, saying in a statement that "after technical and operational examinations done in interaction with the country’s relevant political and national security authorities and the establishment of the inadvertent and unintentional nature of the entry by the American Navy crafts and their apology, a decision was made to free them."
The statement said the Americans had pledged not to repeat the mistake, adding, “...the arrested American Marines were released into international waters under IRGC Navy vessels’ watch.” IRGC released a video showing the moment ten US sailors were arrested after drifting into the country's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf. These powerful images humiliated the US which claims to have a high-tech military. The US military has been unwilling to admit it spent billions on a system that has apparently been defeated by Iran.
The incident proved the US forces’ vulnerability and showed that the Iranian Armed Forces are constantly vigilant and watching every move by US forces in the region.
Humiliated US Punishes Sailors
In a bid to escape from blame, the US navy has punished the captured sailors while failing to mention the ineffectiveness of its navigation equipment and the power of Iran's IRGC Naval forces.
Last June, a US navy investigation found into the 12 January incident in the Persian Gulf saying the captains and crews of two Riverine patrol boats that veered wildly off course had been derelict in their duties. Chief of US Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson told the media that the investigation concluded that shoddy navigation, maintenance shortfalls and a baffling lack of oversight created a maelstrom of errors that led to two U.S. Navy patrol boats being seized in Iranian territorial waters.
The report said that mission leaders showed "blatant disregard for the genuine concern of sailors," not listening to their concerns or empowering them.
US Officer Says he averted war with Iran
Lt. David Nartker, the officer in charge of the detachment of ten sailors who were captured was last September issued a punitive letter of reprimand for his role in the capture of the crews of the two boats.
However, Nartker has made no apologies for his actions when two boats under his command strayed into Iranian waters arguing that he safeguarded the lives of his crew and averted a potential war with Iran over a navigational error. Speaking to Foreign Policy magazine, he said he had only seconds to decide whether to order his crew to open fire or to look for a way out of the showdown.
His defense lawyer, Phillip Lowry, argued in an appeal to naval authorities that his client should be commended instead of penalized for his actions, as an armed clash at Iran's Farsi Island could have led to casualties among the boat crews and “wider and far more volatile international crisis.”
Iran awards Navy officers
Meanwhile, Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution awarded IRGC staff who seized the transgressing US sailors with "Fath" Medal.
Commander of IRGC Navy and four other commanders of the force who arrested U.S. marines for trespassing Iran's territorial waters were awarded with the "Order of Conquest" by the Leader.
Ayatollah Khamenei commended as timely and praiseworthy the “brave” move by the IRGC naval forces. Iranian lawmakers also praised naval forces of IRGC who captured US sailors trespassing on Iran’s territorial waters. In his address to the Iranian parliament, Fadavi said there is still more video footage regarding the arrest, adding that “if the Americans’ acts of malevolence continue, we will release them."