Carter says US marines accidentally entered Iranian waters

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter says US navy boats entered Iranian waters due to misnavigation

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

US says navy boats ‘misnavigated’ into Iranian waters

A mistake in navigation led US navy ships to accidentally enter Iranian waters, said Defence Secretary Ash Carter on Thursday.

Carter told Spanish television network Univision that the sailors were not on a “covert mission” and “were obviously misnavigated.”

“That’s how they believe they ended up in this circumstance,” he added.

The Pentagon also stated that the navy soldiers were experiencing mechanical problems when they entered Iranian waters, on the day of the breach.

“We’re still talking to those folks,” Carter said indicating the soldiers, “and we’ll find out more...but they were clearly out of the position that they intended to be in.”

Carter answered by giving the most detailed statement on the issue so far, and commented on the video footage released by Iranian state TV saying that it was not pleasant to see such scenes. 

"I'm very glad they're released; I'm very glad they're safe. What we don't know is the full context, “ he said and urged for all to listen to the US marines who entered Iranian waters.

“Remember what you're looking through is the lens of the Iranian media. So I think we need to give these guys the opportunity to tell us what was really going on and what the overall context is before we can really know."

Iran had seized two US Navy boats with 10 sailors on board on January 12, when they were within three miles of Iran’s Farsi Island. The sailors including nine men and one women were en route from Kuwait to Bahrain.

The soldiers were released the following day of their detainment, after the Pentagon apologised to Iran. Both of the boats that Iran seized have also been returned to the US.

United States Secretary of State John Kerry commented on the accidental breach and thanked Iranian authorities for their cooperation in “swiftly resolving” the 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 statement.

Video footage on Wednesday also showed one of the US Navy soldiers apoligising to Iran and thanking Iranian officials for their assistance.

The soldier said they had no problems when they were detained by Iranian officials and that they were treated well during their stay.

Despite the incident, relations between the United States and Iran have not been affected.

The United States and European Union are getting ready to lift sanctions off Iran this week, on what is being called “implementation day.”

TRTWorld and agencies