10 U.S. sailors taken into custody by Iran expected to be released soon

WASHINGTON — Ten U.S. Navy sailors taken into custody by Iran after their two small boats drifted into Iranian waters were expected to be released as early as Wednesday morning local time.

See Full Article

American officials have said Tehran assured them that the crew and vessels would be returned safely and promptly. Meanwhile, the Navy chief of the powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guard said Wednesday that the American boats showed "unprofessional acts" for 40 minutes before being picked up by Iranian forces after entering the country's territorial waters.

The navy chief, Gen. Ali Fadavi confirmed on state TV Wednesday that the Guard was holding the crew and their two small boats. The detainees included nine men and one woman, who were being held overnight at an Iranian base on Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf. They were expected to be transferred Wednesday to a U.S. ship in the region.

Referring to the two small boats that had into Iranian waters after experiencing mechanical problems, Fadavi also said the Guard will carry out orders from the country's top leadership over the case, suggesting the Americans could be freed soon.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook told The Associated Press that the Riverine boats were moving between Kuwait and Bahrain when the U.S. lost contact with them.

U.S. officials said that the incident happened near Farsi Island in the middle of the Gulf. They said some type of mechanical trouble with one of the boats caused them to drift into Iranian territorial waters near the island, and they were picked up by Iran.

The semi-official Iranian news agency, FARS, said earlier that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's navy had detained 10 foreign forces, believed to be Americans, and said the sailors were trespassing in Iranian waters.

"We have been in contact with Iran and have received assurances that the crew and the vessels will be returned promptly," Cook said late Tuesday, U.S. time.

The incident came amid heightened tensions with Iran, and only hours before President Barack Obama gave his final State of the Union address to Congress and the public. It set off a dramatic series of calls and meetings as U.S. officials tried to determine the exact status of the crew and reach out to Iranian leaders.

Secretary of State John Kerry, who forged a personal relationship with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif through three years of nuclear negotiations, called Zarif immediately on learning of the incident, according to a senior U.S. official. Kerry "personally engaged with Zarif on this issue to try to get to this outcome," the official said.

Kerry learned of the incident around 12:30 p.m. EST as he and Defense Secretary Ash Carter were meeting their Filipino counterparts at the State Department, the official said.

Officials said the sailors were part of Riverine Squadron 1 based in San Diego and were deployed to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet in Bahrain. When the U.S. lost contact with the boats, ships attached to the USS Harry S Truman aircraft carrier strike group began searching the area, along with aircraft flying off the Truman.

Officials said a radio signal from one of the boats showed that they were on Farsi Island, setting off efforts to contact the Iranians. The Riverine boats were not part of the carrier strike group, and were on a training mission as they traveled between Kuwait and Bahrain, officials said.

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.

The officials were not authorized to discuss the sensitive incident publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.

The incident came on the heels of an incident in late December when Iran launched a rocket test near U.S. warships and boats passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

Meanwhile, Iran was expected to satisfy the terms of last summer's nuclear deal in just days. Once the U.N. nuclear agency confirms Iran's actions to roll back its program, the United States and other Western powers are obliged to suspend wide-ranging oil, trade and financial sanctions on Tehran. Kerry recently said the deal's implementation was "days away."

-----

Associated Press writers Bradley Klapper and Richard Lardner in Washington and Nasser Karimi and Ali Akbar in Tehran contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Manitoba minister won't say whether ban on night hunting is on the table

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG -- The Manitoba government refused to say Tuesday whether it will try to ban indigenous hunting at night -- a move that would appease municipal leaders and anger indigenous groups. Sustainable Development Minister Cathy Cox emerged from a 40-minute meeting with reeves from several communities in western Manitoba to say the government plans to bring both sides to the table in the near future and try to work out an agreement. Source
  • ThyssenKrupp fined $375,000 after man's elevator injury

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- An unapologetic ThyssenKrupp Canada was fined $375,000 on Tuesday, as the prosecution had urged, for a potentially fatal breach of elevator safety laws in which a man was injured. In passing sentence, Ontario court Judge Mindy Avrich-Skapinker said the Crown's request for the "really low" fine -- well short of the maximum $2 million -- had caught her off guard. Source
  • Senior military officer not suspended due to national security concerns: Sajjan

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has ruled out national security concerns following the sudden suspension last week of the military's second-highest-ranking officer. Government and military officials have been tight-lipped since Vice-Admiral Mark Norman was abruptly stripped of his responsibilities on Jan. Source
  • All 6 dead in helicopter crash in central Italy

    World News CTV News
    CAMPO FELICE, Italy -- A helicopter ferrying an injured skier off the slopes slammed into a mountainside in central Italy Tuesday, killing all six people aboard in a new tragedy to hit a region already hobbled by a series of earthquakes, paralyzing snowfall and a deadly avalanche. Source
  • Russian models face Dubai hotel ban over raunchy pics

    World News Toronto Sun
    Scantily clad Russian models are facing a ban from a Dubai hotel over revealing selfies. The Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah is taking exception to the naughty pics, which were taken in $1,500-a-night suites and splashed onto Instagram. Source
  • Man, 70, robbed bank to get away from wife

    World News Toronto Sun
    “Bet she didn’t tell you why her husband went there [jail]?” “How come?” “To get away from Jeannie!” -- Henry Hill explains to his wife a criminal confederate’s motives for going to prison in GoodFellas. Taking a page from Goodfellas, Lawrence Ripple wanted to get away from his wife too. Source
  • Vlogger Jenny McDermott on ‘kill all men and male babies’ video: just kidding...

    World News Toronto Sun
    An American video blogger who posted a video calling for followers to “kill all men” claims she was “joking” following a social media firestorm. Jenny McDermott posted the outrageous video on her YouTube channel last July but it’s resurfaced after another YouTube user uploaded an edited version of her video -- and people are angrier than ever. Source
  • Ex-porn star Jameson claims Bill Maher’s a ‘p---y grabber’

    World News Toronto Sun
    Former porn queen Jenna Jameson is slamming liberal stalwart Bill Maher, saying the talk show host “fits right in with us ‘p---- grabbers'”. Jameson – star of such sexxx-rated fare as Janine Loves Jenna, Rump Rangers and Saturday Night Beaver – took exception to Maher criticizing President Donald Trump. Source
  • N.B. police raid illegal marijuana stores

    Canada News CTV News
    SAINT JOHN, N.B. - Police raided six medical marijuana dispensaries in the Saint John area today, saying they know federal legal changes are coming but the New Brunswick stores are operating illegally for now. Six stores were raided by officers from the city police and nearby forces. Source
  • Rejecting Keystone XL chance for Trudeau to stand up to Trump: Mulcair

    Canada News CBC News
    NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline project would be Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's first opportunity to stand up to newly minted U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump has moved to advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines —projects shot down by the previous U.S. Source