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Iran Awards Medals for Capture of U.S. Sailors

This wasn't a commendation for life saving or giving service to travelers on the high seas.

Dan Gilmore · Feb. 1, 2016

This wasn’t a commendation for life saving or giving friendly service to fellow travelers on the high seas. Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei awarded Fath (or victory) medals to the four navy commanders and the head of the Revolutionary Guard’s navy who helped capture the 10 U.S. soldiers whose boats drifted into Iranian waters in the middle of January. This medal is given to Iran’s war heroes, which means the nation thinks capturing and humiliating the U.S. military — especially after the Iran nuclear deal — is one for the history books.

Remember how the media and the Obama administration described the hostage situation. At the time, The Wall Street Journal reported Iran released the Americans after it determined the intrusion was “unintentional.” The New York Times originally reported that Iran detained the U.S. sailors because they were “snooping,” but they changed the story in the early morning to say Iran thought the Americans were “trespassing.” Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times report said Iran would use “Islamic compassion” toward the sailors. After Iran “determined” that the U.S. sailors were not a threat, they released the sailors — after making them apologize, thus further humiliating Obama.

At that time, Secretary of State John Kerry glossed over the more worrying details of the incident when he used it as a way to tout the deal to allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. “I think we can all imagine how a similar situation might have played out three or four years ago,” Kerry said, “and the fact that today this kind of issue can be resolved peacefully and efficiently is a testament to the critical role diplomacy plays in keeping our country safe, secure, and strong.” While Obama and Kerry point to the 10 U.S. soldiers as proof that their Iran nuclear deal is working, the way Iran talks about it shows they don’t see it as all phone calls, fuzzy feelings and diplomacy.

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