TEHRAN -- Yesterday was the sixth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy’s capture of two American navy ships in the Persian Gulf, where U.S. Navy sailors were forced to kneel down before Iranian naval forces after trespassing into Iranian territorial waters.
Marking the occasion, a commander of the IRGC said that after the capture, the IRGC Navy warned American ships that they would be targeted if they came forward.
“The sailors of the second naval zone of the IRGC warned them sternly that ‘we will hit you if you enter the territorial water of the Farsi Island,’ and every time these warnings were issued, they would cause them (American ships) to retreat,” Ramezan Zirahi recalled.
He said the IRGC’s sailors were not after war, but were merely doing their duty of defending the Islamic homeland.
Pointing to the IRGC Navy’s readiness along the country’s Persian Gulf coasts, the commander said, “If the Americans had made a mistake, a hell of fire would have been ignited for them.”
On January 12, 2016, two U.S. Navy crafts, carrying 10 Marines, were intercepted by the IRGC Navy after they entered Iranian territorial waters near Iran’s Farsi Island.
Initially, the U.S. military claimed the sailors inadvertently entered Iranian waters owing to mechanical failure, but Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, the then-commander of the IRGC Navy, said later that the incident occurred because of technical problems with the navigation systems of the U.S. vessels.
The IRGC released the sailors a day later, 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 apologized and pledged not to repeat the mistake, adding, “The arrested American Marines were released into international waters under IRGC Navy vessels’ watch.”
Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry thanked Iranian authorities at the time for their cooperation in the release of U.S. Navy sailors.
Later, Iran released a series of images and videos that, among other things, showed the U.S. Navy sailors on their knees with their hands clasped behind their heads as they were being apprehended on their vessels.
Emphasizing the need to develop Iran-Cuba cooperation in all field, especially trade, science and technology, he said, “The joint cooperation to counter the coronavirus disease and the development of a vaccine is a great success in the fight against sanctions and the conspiracy of the common enemy of the two nations.”
Diaz-Canel further supported Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy and stressed efforts to develop banking and trade ties between Tehran and Havana.