The commander of the naval force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards today said he was “awaiting orders” on the fate of 10 detained US sailors and that Tehran wanted an apology.
Admiral Ali Fadavi said on state television that “unprofessional conduct” had led to the incident with the sailors and two US boats near Farsi island.
“Naturally in territorial waters of the country any naval craft should announce their presence beforehand, especially if they are military,” Fadavi said.
“They didn’t show much resistance but later the US aircraft carrier for 40 minutes showed unprofessional conduct and demonstrated air and sea movements that showed their lack of commitment to the security of the region,” Fadavi added, without being specific.
However he hinted that the sailors could soon be released, confirming that Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was involved in talks to see them freed.
“The process will definitely not take very long, and as soon as we receive orders the Guards naval force will act accordingly,” Fadavi said.
“Mr Zarif had a strong stance and told Mr (John) Kerry these were our territorial waters and you should apologise,” he said, referring to the US Secretary of State.
In a statement early today the Guards said they had detained the sailors and their patrol craft.
At 16:30 Tuesday, two American combat boats carrying 10 armed marines who had entered Iranian territory were seized by the combat units of the Guards naval force and moved to Farsi island,” an official statement said.
“Passengers of the American boats, including nine men and one woman, (are being treated) with the Islamic conduct customary of the soldiers of the Guards naval forces, and they are in good health,” it added.
Two aircraft carriers — the USS Harry S. Truman and France’s Charles de Gaulle — were both in international waters near Farsi island when the US boats were captured, the statement said.
The Iranian Fars news agency, which is close to the Guards, reported that the “violating boats were two kilometres inside Iranian territory”.
“This information was recorded on their GPS devices, and the Guards are holding that information,” it said.