The Iranian Navy commanders who captured U.S. sailors when they entered Iranian territorial waters Jan. 12 have reportedly been awarded medals by the country's supreme leader.
The Faith (Victory) medal was given to Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, head of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy, and four other high-ranking commanders by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Jan. 31, Press TV reports. The five men were all involved in the seizure of two U.S. Navy boats, with 10 sailors onboard.
The sailors were arrested in what Khamenei called a "brave" act by the IRGC Navy.
The capture of U.S. sailors “was in fact an act of God, who brought the Americans into our waters so they would be arrested with their hands on their heads through your timely measure,” Khamenei said, according to Press TV.
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A photo of the medal ceremony was posted to Khamenei’s Twitter account.
Fadavi said the U.S. Navy ships had “trespassed” in Iranian waters because of technical problems with their navigation systems.
The Iranian Faith medal has been awarded to war heroes, military commanders and politicians since 1989, according to Reuters.
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Khamenei has reportedly said Iran must remain cautious of its arch-enemy the U.S. His comments were made after the Iran nuclear agreement was finalized, even though the U.S. was a major supporter of the accord.
The sailors were released Jan. 13 after an apology was made by the U.S. government for the mistake, according to Press TV.