Iran releases images of US sailors surrendering before capture

Breaking News:WATCH DRAMATIC VIDEO Shows Ten American Sailors on Their Knees as They Surrendered to Iranian Troops in the Persian Gulf While a U.S. Commander Is Filmed Apologizing to the Revolutionary Guard.

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  • Footage of sailors on the floor, with hands behind their heads surrounded by Iranian guards has been released
  • It was aired on the Islamic republic’s state television after the Navy personnel were freed following a standoff
  • When the sailors were taken off of the boats in the Persian Gulf, they were questioned by the IRGC
  • Later the captives were pictured looking relaxed while sitting on a big carpet sharing plats of food and water
  • One of the sailors was filmed apologizing for their unit’s ‘mistake’ and praised the Iranians ‘fantastic’ behavior
  • A female sailor with the group was given a makeshift head scarf to wear while they enjoyed meal
  • Reports by state media inside Iran stated the U.S. issued a grovelling apology before the sailors were freed
  • However John Kerry’s spokesman said there is ‘zero truth’ to reports the Secretary of State said sorry

 

Dramatic footage has emerged of the 10 American sailors accused of ‘snooping’ surrendering to Iran’s revolutionary guard and being taken into custody 16 hours before they released.

Video which aired on the Islamic republic’s state television shows the U.S Navy personnel kneeling with their hands behind their heads, as armed coast guard officials surround them.

They remained motionless as they waited to be taken into custody on Farsi Island – an area of land in the Persian Gulf shut off to the public for secret government activities.

The tense diplomatic standoff took place just days before the terms of the nuclear deal are set to be activated – meaning Iran is set to received $billion in funds that were restricted by the U.S. under the sanctions.

After they were escorted off the boats, the nine men and one woman were interrogated for hours by the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (IRGC) before they were released.

Wearing combat fatigues and no shoes, the sailors were then pictured sitting on a carpet inside a bare room. They shared plates of food and bottles of water as they chatted to Iranian officials.

A female sailor was also seen wearing a makeshift veil to cover her head, given to her by the captors.  One sailor, said to be a U.S. commander, was recorded making an apology to the Iranian forces – insisting they strayed into their territory by mistake – and said their behavior towards them was ‘fantastic’.

Two Iranian men come in and join the nine American men in the room. The female sailor appears to have been escorted out of the room because of the two IRGC guards .

The unidentified sailor apologized for mistakenly travelling into Iranian waters – contradicting claims the U.S. were forced to say sorry.

 

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‘It was a mistake. That was our fault. And we apologize for our mistake, ’ the sailor said, in a brief state TV clip posted on Twitter by a journalist with Iran’s Tasnim News Agency.

His comment was in response to a man holding a microphone, who asked in English, ‘How was the Iranian behavior with you?’

The sailor was also asked if they had a ‘special problem.’ The sailor responded, ‘We had no problem, sir.’

Reports from Iran suggest the Pentagon was forced to make a grovelling apology in a bid to get the sailors released, admitting they had traveled into sovereign waters by mistake – just days before the controversial nuclear agreement is set to go into force.

But John Kerry’s spokesman John Kirby insisted the Secretary of State did not say sorry to his Iranian counterparts – because there was ‘nothing to apologize for’.

Vice President Joe Biden also backed him up, telling CBS’ This Morning: ‘There’s no apology and there’s nothing to apologize for. When you have a problem with the boat do you apologize to the boat having a problems? And there is no looking for any apology. This was just standard nautical practice.’ State Department spokesman Mark Toner also said the comments were not ‘an official government apology.’

‘I don’t think there’s necessarily a need for any kind of apology here. It was handled professionally — at least our initial assessments are — professionally by both sides, ’ he said.

During a press briefing today he said:  ‘There was no official U.S. apology given to the Iranians. I think that’s been a little bit of a canard, or whatever, out there in the press this morning, that there was the impression given that there was some kind of apology. Categorically, there was not. ‘

He was then asked by a reporter about the video of the soldier saying sorry. ‘Exactly. Precisely. Precisely. But that was not an official, but not an official U.S. government apology.’

‘We’ve seen no indications thus far that they were mistreated during their period of detention. In fact it was our understanding that they were given blankets, a place to sleep, as well as fed. That said … of course, you know there’s going to be a period of debriefing these sailors. That’s ongoing. … Our initial assessment is that they were treated humanely.’

‘Secretary Kerry was, as many of you know, very quick to respond to Iran, to his counterpart, give the details of what we knew the situation to be. And I think it was simply, again according to what we know about this,  “an accident”, a mechanical malfunction. I think it was handled diplomatically, which is always the ideal way – certainly we here at the State Department believe that – but I don’t think there’s necessarily a need for any kind of apology here.’

‘This was handled professionally – at least, and again, in our initial assessments – professionally by both sides.’

John Kerry (pictured at the National Defense University on Wednesday, 13 January 2016) said he was glad the incident was resolved quickly. His spokesman John Kirby insisted the Secretary of State did not say sorry to his Iranian counterparts – because there was ‘nothing to apologize for’.

‘We would take appropriate action if our assessment changed … we are still in the process of gathering information. Our initial impression is that they were well-treated.’

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the administration decided against including the incident in the State of the Union as they didn’t want to‘elevate the situation further’.

‘I think the outcome, which is the release of the sailors just hours after the President completed his address, is a pretty powerful endorsement of that strategy, ’ he added.

The release of the images of the soldiers may have also concerned the Navy’s higher command, fearing Iran could have extracted some information from them.

A reporter for the BBC News Persian Service said the pair spoke on the five times to negotiate the release of the captives.

The Pentagon lost contact with two small riverine vessels in the Persian Gulf just hours before President Obama made his last State of the Union address on Tuesday, 12 January 2016.

They were travelling from Kuwait to Bahrain, the home of the U.S. Navy’s 5th fleet when they were stopped. There have been suggestions they drifted into Iranian waters because of mechanical issues – but questions have been raised concerning how the boats could have ended up in the same place.

The Pentagon is also trying to determine why they lost contact with not just one but two of their boats.

Gen. Ali Fadavi, the navy chief of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, told Iranian state TV the American boats had shown ‘unprofessional acts’ for 40 minutes before being picked up on Tuesday.

He said Tehran did not consider the U.S. Navy boats violating Iranian territorial waters as an ‘innocent passage.’

This article was first published at Before Its News

 

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