IRGC conducts naval march to mark 2016 capture of trespassing US sailors

TEHRAN (Presstv): Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has staged a naval march near Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf to mark the fifth anniversary of arrest of American forces trespassing on the country’s territorial waters.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency said in a report that the naval march was held in the vicinity of the strategic island early on Saturday, with the participation of more than 700 boats and military vessels from the IRGC Navy and the maritime Basij volunteer force.

Ramezan Zirahi, a senior commander with the IRGC, said the boats and vessels had traveled to Farsi Island from the southwestern coasts of Bushehr Province to partake in the naval march and mark the anniversary of the 2016 capture of the US Marines.

Zirahi also underlined that the IRGC Navy was at the peak of its operational capability and readiness with modern and advanced military equipment to counter any hostile attacks.

Two US Navy crafts, carrying 10 Marines, reached three miles into the waters surrounding the Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf on January 12, 2016.

Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, the then-commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy, said that the trespassing occurred because of technical problems with the navigation systems of the US 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 US Secretary of State John Kerry thanked Iranian authorities at the time for their cooperation in the release of US Navy sailors.

Kerry who was addressing a press briefing at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. said the peaceful resolution of the issue was a “testament to the critical role that diplomacy plays” in keeping the US safe.