The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ naval commander announced the Guard is planning to build a statue of the U.S. sailors who were captured by Iran in January 2016 when their boat accidentally strayed into Iranian territorial waters.
Commander Ali Fadavi said the monument of the Americans surrendering would be a “tourist attraction.”
Speaking to the Iranian Defense Press news agency, Fadavi said, “There are very many photographs of the major incident of arresting U.S. Marines in the Persian Gulf in the media and we intend to build a symbol out of them inside one of our naval monuments.”
On January 12, 10 American sailors were captured after their boat reportedly experienced engine problems. It remains unclear whether or not the crew was aware of its location.
Iranian sailors boarded the boat and forced the Americans into crouch and surrender positions at gunpoint. The Islamic Republic leveraged the incident to humiliate the U.S., forcing the sailors to apologize and acknowledge their “fantastic” treatment by Iran during the 15 hours they were held captive.
In a meeting afterwards with the Guards, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the capture “God’s Deed.”
“What you did was very great, interesting and timely and it was in fact God’s deed that took Americans to our waters so that through your timely job they raised their hands over their heads and were arrested,” Khamenei said to the Guard and later in a tweet.
In a timeline of the incident published just a few days after the sailors' release, the U.S. Department of Defense sought to defuse the controversy. However, pointedly missing from the timeline was any explanation of why the boat had strayed from international waters, allowed the Iranians to board or why the boat’s communications equipment failed.
Since the signing of the nuclear agreement, Iran has engaged in numerous provocations with the U.S., including test-firing a U.N.-banned ballistic missile 10 days ago with the words “Israel Must Be Wiped Out” written on its side. U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden was visiting Israel at the time of the test.