Saturday, 30 January, 2016

Sailors Captured, Released by Iran Are San Diego Based

U.S. sailors on their knees after their capture by IRGC speedboats earlier this month U.S. sailors on their knees after their capture by IRGC speedboats earlier this month
Dana Christensen | 23 January, 2016, 10:55

The semi-official Fars News Agency reported that the sailors and their boats were released in global waters after an investigation by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.

"They appear to be in very good shape, we've been in touch with all the families, and we'll know more as they're debriefed over the next little while", Mabus said.

Iranian authorities confirmed earlier in a statement that they had been released. Some sailors appear to look around anxiously.

The riverine boats were released to different teams of USA sailors, who took them to their original intended destination in Bahrain. It is not clear whether they were lower on fuel than expected.

Diplomats in Washington and Tehran, through a series of anxious phone calls, sought to resolve the incident quickly, ensuring it did not torpedo the nuclear accord. The boats were supposed to stay out of that area.

General Hossein Salami
General Hossein Salami

In the end, Iran released the U.S. sailors - nine men and one woman - on Wednesday. According to the Pentagon, the boats were en route from Kuwait to Bahrein, where the US Navy's 5th Fleet has a base. The engine problem did not cause the boats to go off course but apparently prevented them from evading the Iranians once the crews realised they were inside Iran's territorial waters. The Iranians did not interfere, the defence official said. The Navy believes the Iranians did not remove any gear or weapons from the boats, reportedly said the anonymous official. They were released and returned to US custody on Wednesday.

"This shows Iran's internal power as we powerfully seized the military vessel of the world's big military power and then freed its personnel powerfully after ensuring of their unintentional entry into our territorial waters", Araqchi continued to Iranian media.

Instead, Defense Secretary Ash Carter claimed today that the sailors made a "navigational error" and didn't tell anybody about it until after they got caught in Iranian waters.

"It was a mistake, it was our fault, and we apologise for our mistake", an unidentified sailor told an Iranian interviewer with the state-controlled TV station Tasmin.

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