Iran releases 10 US sailors over their entrance of its water

Iran's Revolutionary Guards say Iran releases 10 American sailors who it detained and their patrol boats over their entrance of Iranian waters

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

A riverine patrol boat from Costal Riverine Squadron 2 escorts the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) while in the Arabia Gulf in this November 15, 2014 handout photo, provided by the US Navy, January 12, 2016

Updated Jan 15, 2016

Iran released 10 US sailors and their boats after it detained them earlier on Wednesday because of their ''unintentional'' entrance of Iranian waters, Iran's Revolutionary Guards said in a statement.

"It was determined that the detained American Marines did not enter Iranian waters intentionally. Following their apology, they have been released to international waters in the Gulf," Iranian state television quoted from a Guards statement as saying.

Iran had detained 10 American soldiers with their patrol boats. Afterwards they drifted into Iranian waters caused by what the US says was a “mechanical problem’ of the boats.

The Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said on Tuesday the sailors and their two boats will be “returned promptly” as Tehran made clear to US officials.

"Earlier today, we lost contact with two small US naval craft en route from Kuwait to Bahrain," said the Pentagon.

"We have received assurances the sailors will promptly be allowed to continue their journey.”

However, Iranian Fars news agency said the US sailors -nine men and a woman- were “snooping” in Iranian waters.

The Iranian foreign minister said the sailors were in Iran’s territorial waters and the US should apologise for the incident.

The sailors, who were moving from Kuwait to Bahrain before the incident, are being held at an Iranian base on Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf, according to Tehran.

The Pentagon said US Secretary of State John Kerry called the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif after the incident to begin negotiations for the return of the sailors.

The US has no diplomatic relations with Tehran, but Kerry and Zarif have been in contact since the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

The Pentagon said all of the US sailors were fine and uninjured, waiting to be transferred to a US ship in the region on Wednesday morning.

TRTWorld and agencies