Iran Warns US: We Have Even More Embarrassing Footage of Your Captured Sailors

By Patrick Goodenough | February 2, 2016 | 4:23 AM EST

A still from video footage released on Iran state media shows U.S. sailors kneeling, hands behind their heads, after being apprehended by the IRGC Navy in the Persian Gulf. (Image: Al-Alam TV)

( – The head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy said Monday that if the U.S. seeks to humiliate Iran, the IRGC would release footage of ten U.S. sailors detained last month that is much more embarrassing than images released earlier.

Addressing Iranian lawmakers a day after being awarded a medal by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for the Jan. 12-13 incident in the Persian Gulf, Sardar Fadavi also said his personnel had obtained information from the U.S. sailors’ laptops and phones.

“We have extracted extensive information from their laptops and cell phones,” the state-owned Tasnim news agency quoted him as saying, adding that the material could be made public.

A U.S. Navy investigation is underway. Earlier, U.S. Central Command said that when Iran released the sailors and boats, “all weapons, ammunition and communication gear are accounted for minus two SIM cards that appear to have been removed from two handheld satellite phones.”

In his address in parliament, Fadavi also warned that the IRGC had much more footage of the incident than the material it released earlier – which showed the sailors kneeling on the deck at gunpoint, later relaxing and eating, and one of them apologizing for unintentionally entering Iranian waters.

Tasnim reported: “If U.S. officials say they are angry with and frustrated by the footage released, they would be 100 times more embarrassed if the IRGC releases other films of the capture, the Iranian commander said.”

“Iran does not seek to humiliate any nation, he said, but stressed that if they want to humiliate Iran, the IRGC would publish the footage and make them even more embarrassed and humiliated,” the agency added.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Secretary of State John Kerry both declared themselves angry about the images publicized by Iran – although Kerry also said their release came from the IRGC, not from the foreign ministry.

Kerry spoke to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to ensure the quick release of the sailors and their two patrol boats, and when they were allowed to go some 15 hours after being apprehended, he expressed his “gratitude to the Iranian authorities for their cooperation in swiftly resolving this matter.”

“That this issue was resolved peacefully and efficiently is a testament to the critical role diplomacy plays in keeping our country safe, secure, and strong,” he said in a Jan. 13 statement.

Fadavi’s visit to parliament saw lawmakers praise him and the personnel involved for detaining the U.S. sailors.

Parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani said the forces had demonstrated the power of the IRGC Navy with their “timely and calculated action” against the “intruding pirates.”

Iran’s Mehr news agency posted photos of Fadavi being feted by lawmakers, and lawmakers reacting to his address with raised fists.

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow