Iranian Celebrations Turn To Anger After Sailors’ Quick Release

Many Iranians were annoyed that the U.S. Navy sailors were let go, while others were glad the incident was over

A riverine command boat from Riverine Detachment 23 in the Arabia Gulf — REUTERS
Jan 13, 2016 at 7:34 AM ET

Celebrations among Iranians over the capture of 10 U.S. Navy sailors turned to a mix of anger and relief on social media Wednesday following the sailors’ release.

“The detained U.S. Marines, after it was realized that their entry into Iran’s territorial waters was unintentional, and after the Marines apologized, were released into international waters in the Persian Gulf,” the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps said in a statement broadcast on Iranian state television Wednesday morning.

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The development sparked immediate reaction across social media, Vocativ discovered. “The American sailors were released? That’s very stupid,” one Iranian posted on Twitter. Others, though, were glad the row was over with one Iranian tweeting: “Thank God, the Americans were released quickly to prevent punishment.” Another said happily that “everybody benefits” from the incident ending.

The reactions followed a wave of joy among dozens who had previously declared the capture of the soldiers—accused of trespassing after two Navy boats were discovered in Iranian waters on Tuesday—as a sign of Iran’s strength. One guy, @m0slemjafari, said Iran should use the incident “to teach the Americans and the sailors a good lesson,” while another declared that “the country must show its authority, finally.”

Others tweeted updates about the news with the infamous hashtag and slogan “Death to America.” And dozens connected it to another diplomatic crisis two weeks ago, when Iranian protesters stormed and torched the Saudi embassy in Tehran. “First the (Saudi) embassy, now the boats,” @Nazi_Nezeri tweeted. “Good, and we are way ahead in 2016. It will be fruitful.” Twitter user @maryamgharani sarcastically replied: “It’s good that Americans don’t have an embassy here anymore.”

Excitement also bubbled up over photos Iran’s Revolutionary Guards released showing the sailors being detained. The capture was “worth it” for the images alone, @YoozPalangidan wrote, as they’ll be used to teach Americans and Brits a lesson. Almost a decade ago, in 2007, 15 service members of the British military were captured and held by Iran for nearly two weeks.