Tehran released 10 US Navy sailors who were arrested Tuesday after their boats entered Iranian territorial waters.
The US Navy said the American crewmembers were returned safely and there were no indications they had been harmed while in custody.
The nine men and one woman had been held at an Iranian base on Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf after being detained nearby on Tuesday. The tiny outpost has been used as a base for Revolutionary Guard speedboats as far back as the 1980s.
The sailors departed the island at 8:43 a.m. GMT aboard the boats they were detained with, the Navy said. They were picked up by Navy aircraft and other sailors took control of their boats for the return to Bahrain, where the US 5th Fleet is based.
“The Navy will investigate the circumstances that led to the sailors’ presence in Iran,” the US statement said.
Earlier Wednesday, an Iranian admiral said the standoff “is being resolved,” after officials concluded that the boats entered Iran’s waters accidentally.
“Investigation shows that entry of American sailors into Iran’s territorial waters was due to mechanical problems in their navigation system,” Gen. Ali Fadavi, Navy chief in Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), was quoted as saying on Iran’s state TV.
US officials had said on Tuesday that Tehran assured them the crew and vessels would be returned safely and promptly.
The Revolutionary Guards said the US had “apologized” for the incident, and promised it would not recur, Iranian state-affiliated media said Wednesday. “After it became clear that the US combat vessels’ illegal entry into the Islamic Republic of Iran’s waters was the result of an unpurposeful action and a mistake, and after they extended an apology, the decision was made to release them,” an IRGC statement said.
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter welcomed the release of the 10 sailors. In a statement Wednesday, Carter said he wanted to thank Secretary of State John Kerry for his “diplomatic engagement” on the issue. Kerry has a close relationship with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif after the recent nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and world powers. Carter also said: “Around the world, the U.S. Navy routinely provides assistance to foreign sailors in distress, and we appreciate the timely way in which this situation was resolved.”
Kerry thanked Iran in a statement on Wednesday: “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.
Read more: timesofisrael.com
- For Those of You Who Thought Trump Bankrupted the Secret Service, Here is the Real Story…
- BLM Activist Makes List of Requests for White People: ‘give up the home you own to a black or brown family.’
- When You’re Trying to Riot and Your Mom Shows Up [WATCH]
- Anti-Trump Protester Shot in Groin With Tear-Gas Canister During Phoenix Rally [Video]
- Policewoman Shoots Down 4 Jihadis by Herself — Video Footage Revealed
- Watch: Hipsters Believe America Should Model Economy Like Venezuela’s to Have Income Equality
- State Senator Who Called for Trump Assassination is Kicked Out of…
- REPORT: Debbie Wasserman Schultz’ IT Aide May Have Sold State Secrets to Russia, Pakistan
- Pope Francis Claims Migrants’ Rights Overrule Importance of National Security
- Armed Intruder Breaks into Family’s Apartment, Tries Raping Daughter — Enter the Pissed Off Father…
- Bust… A Move? 92yr-Old Woman and Police Officer Have a Dance Off [Watch]
- Chick Lectures Crowd of White Women: ‘I Believe White People Are Born Into Not Being Human’ [Video]
- Should Antifa be Labeled as a Terror Organization? This Petition Says It Should. [UPDATE]
- ‘I Can’t Thank You Enough’: Wounded Vet Surprises Gary Sinise During Interview [VIDEO]
- Arizona Court Rules Guns are Loaded, Even When Empty…
- Artist Projects 3 Messages on Trump Hotel: “The President of the United States is a Known Racist and Nazi Sympathizer”
- NBA Star Charles Barkley Disses Confederate Statue Obsession — Tells Black Community to Focus on These 3 Things Instead
- Democrat Steve Cohen is Introducing Impeachment Articles for President Trump Over Charlottesville