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Head of Iranian Army: Seizure of U.S. Naval Assets Was “Lesson” to Congress

The head of the Iranian armed forces called Tuesday’s seizure of two American naval vessels and their crews a “lesson” to members of Congress, Iran’s semi-official PressTV network reported [1] on Wednesday.

“We hope the incident in north of the Persian Gulf, which will not be probably the American forces’ last mistake in the region, will be a lesson to those seeking to sabotage [Iran’s nuclear agreement] at US Congress,” said Major General Hassan Firouzabadi.

Firouzabadi accused congressional critics of the nuclear deal with Iran of ignoring the best interests of the American people. He touted the incident as an example of U.S. “vulnerability” in the Persian Gulf and praised the vigilance of the Iranian military, which monitors U.S. activities in the region.

PressTV also quoted Admiral Ali Fadavi, the Navy chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, who boasted of Iran’s efforts to keep American forces at bay during the incident. Fadavi, who said that the two boats entered waters near Iran’s Farsi Island due to problems with their navigation systems, claimed that while the IRGC naval forces seized the two vessels and their crews, “the US Navy and [a nearby] aircraft carrier resorted to unprofessional behavior as well as aerial and seaborne provocations in the area, which were deflected through the IRGC’s timely action.”

Fadavi’s language echoed a statement made by U.S. Central Command spokesman Cmdr. Kyle Raines after an Iranian ship fired rockets [2] in the vicinity of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman at the end of December. “Firing weapons so close to passing coalition ships and commercial traffic within an internationally recognized maritime traffic lane is unsafe, unprofessional and inconsistent with international maritime law,” Raines said following the incident.

Fadavi also boasted that the IRGC navy has “full control” over both the Persian Gulf and Straits of Hormuz, through which most of the world’s oil is transported.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon acknowledged [3] that Iran was holding two American crafts and their crews. The vessels and sailors were released [4] on Wednesday, but there are growing concerns [5] that Iran violated international law by arresting the personnel and broadcasting their images.

[Photo: Manuchehr Lenziran / YouTube [6] ]