TEL AVIV – The Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, boasted that Tuesday’s capture and subsequent release of 10 American sailors “proved how vulnerable the U.S. is in front of powerful Iranian forces.”
His comments were paraphrased in a defiant report by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency.
IRNA continued, summarizing Firouzabadi’s statements on the dramatic events:
Were it not for the good intentions of the Iranian commanders, he said, the US was facing yet another crisis now.
The incident showed the vigilance of the Iranian armed forces, the commander noted. …
Firouzabadi said what happened to American sailors on Tuesday proved how vulnerable the US is in front of powerful Iranian forces.
Iran’s Tasnim news agency quoted Firouzabadi stating, “This incident in the Persian Gulf, which probably will not be the American forces’ last mistake in the region, should be a lesson to troublemakers in the US Congress.”
Iran’s military announced on Wednesday that it had released the ten sailors seized after two US Navy patrol boards were accused of crossing into the country’s territorial waters. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) said in a statement the US military personnel were set free after an investigation had determined they had done so by mistake.
“Our technical investigations showed the two U.S. Navy boats entered Iranian territorial waters inadvertently,” said the IRGC statement, broadcast on Iran’s state television. “They were released in international waters after they apologized,” it added.
Yesterday, the Guards claimed the two boats were “snooping” in Iranian waters.
Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported that the boats drifted more than a mile into Iranian waters near Farsi Island, which houses a major Iranian naval base. Fars quoted a member of the Guards’ navy saying Iran confiscated GPS equipment and would “prove that the American ships were ‘trespassing’ around in Iranian waters.”
Reuters on Wednesday quoted a US official confirming the sailors’ release.
The sailors were seized only hours before President Obama delivered his final State of the Union address last night. And the incident came as Iran is widely expected to be declared in compliance with the U.S.-brokered international nuclear deal, a move that would oblige the US and other Western powers to scale back major sanctions on Tehran.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.