Iran’s Revolutionary Guard leaders have suggested the construction of a statue of the ten American sailors they captured in January.
“There are very many photographs of the major incident of arresting US Marines in the Persian Gulf in the media and we intend to build a symbol out of them inside one of our naval monuments,” declared Commander Ali Fadavi, head of the Guard’s naval forces.
He believes the statue will attract tourists.
Fadavi’s idea comes only days after officials in Iran alleged they seized over 13,000 pages of information from devices used by the U.S. sailors. Gen. Ali Razmjou, naval commander in the Guard, said his soldiers retrieved the materials from laptops and GPS devices. Previously, the regime said they had only taken “two digital SIM cards in satellite phones.”
American officials have not indicated if they know whether Iran possesses any classified information. Razmjou also claimed Iran has a right to these items “under international regulations.”
The Guard wants “to publish a book on the incident based on international reactions and coverage of the event.”
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) captured two Navy vessels in the Persian Gulf in January, hours before President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. They detained the ships and ten American sailors.
The Iranian website IRIB News published photo and video of the capture of the ship at the time, which showed American sailors forced on their knees by IRGC aggressors.
The regime released the sailors the following morning after they allegedly determined the seamen did not mean to wade into Iranian waters, though the Iranians have not yet issued any proof the American ships were in, or even near, Iranian territory. Admiral Ali Fadavi, the IRGC Navy Commander, claimed they received an apology from the U.S., while berating the U.S. for acting in an “unprofessional” manner and claiming the presence of the U.S. in the Persian Gulf “disturbed the security of the area.”
He also insisted the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier had made provocative “maritime and aerial” maneuvers after they seized the sailors.
Two officials claimed the ships drifted as “one experienced mechanical problems and the other attempted to offer assistance.”
Secretary of State John Kerry issued a thank you to the Iranian regime for releasing the U.S. servicemen.
“I want to express my gratitude to Iranian authorities for their cooperation in swiftly resolving this matter,” he said at the time. “That this issue was resolved peacefully and efficiently is a testament to the critical role diplomacy plays in keeping our country safe, secure, and strong.”
CNN reported that Kerry spoke to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at least five times that Tuesday, and that Kerry said of the situation that it could be “a good story for both of us.”
Vice President Joe Biden denied that the U.S. apologized to Iran after the country released ten Navy sailors it had abducted. “When you have a problem with the boat, (do) you apologize the boat had a problem? No,” he explained. “And there was no looking for any apology. This was just standard nautical practice.”