Monday, 1 February 2016
Iran’s supreme leader has awarded medals to five members of the Iranian Navy whom he said “captured intruding” U.S. Navy sailors during a tense incident in January.
On Jan. 12, Iran captured the ten sailors whose boats “misnavigated” into Iranian waters, according to Defense Secretary Ash Carter. Though the sailors were released the following day, Iran released video of the sailors being captured, detained and apologizing for the incursion.
Though Iran initially accused the sailors of spying, Fadavi later said an investigation had established the sailors were led astray by "a broken navigation system" and the trespassing was "not hostile or for spying purposes".
The sailors were attempting to navigate from Kuwait to Bahrain when they crossed into Iranian waters.
In one of the more enduring images from the video of the capture, the sailors are shown kneeling on the decks of the boats, with their hands on their heads, all while being watched by armed Iranian troops. Though U.S. officials initially sought to downplay the encounter, Carter recently said the images made him “very, very angry.”
The Order of Fat'h has been given to Iranian war heroes, military commanders and politicians, especially those involved in the Iran-Iraq War, which lasted between 1980 and 1988.
Khamenei has said that Iran should remain wary of the U.S., even after the two enemies reached a deal on the future of Iran's nuclear program last summer.