Iran Frees 10 American Sailors

Iran says they suffered mechanical problems
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 13, 2016 4:55 AM CST
Updated Jan 13, 2016 6:14 AM CST
Iran: 10 US Sailors Freed
In this Nov. 15, 2014, photo, a riverine command boat from Coastal Riverine Squadron 2 escorts the USS Bunker Hill in the Persian Gulf.   (LaTunya Howard/US Navy via AP)

They're free again: Iranian state television is reporting that all 10 US sailors detained by Iran after entering its territorial waters have been released. Iran's Revolutionary Guard said the sailors were released Wednesday after it was determined that their entry was not intentional. The nine men and one woman were being held at an Iranian base on Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf after being detained nearby on Tuesday. The sailors were part of Riverine Squadron 1 based in San Diego and were deployed to the US Navy's 5th Fleet in Bahrain. CNN reports that they are now on board the USS Anzio after being escorted to a rendezvous point by Iranian ships.

"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 of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard, was quoted as saying on Iran's state TV. Earlier, Fadavi said the American boats had shown "unprofessional acts" for 40 minutes before being picked up by Iranian forces after entering the country's territorial waters. US officials had said on Tuesday that Tehran assured them the crew and vessels would be returned safely and promptly. The Riverine boats are not considered high-tech and don't contain any sensitive equipment, so there were no concerns about the Iranians gaining access to the crafts. (More Iran stories.)

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