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.


Latest Canada & World News

  • Newspaper industry may get help from Ottawa: 'Everything is on the table'

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- The federal government isn't ruling out offering financial support to the struggling newspaper industry, Heritage Minister Melanie Joly said Friday. Newspapers are hurting and all options to help them are being considered, she told reporters after giving a speech to the Montreal Board of Trade. Source
  • India call centre raid leads to steep drop in CRA scams: RCMP

    Canada News CTV News
    The RCMP are crediting a raid on a massive collection of call centres in India with a steep drop in the number of complaints from Canadians about a scam involving callers who claim to be from the Canada Revenue Agency. Source
  • '80s mobster threatened to castrate Donald Trump: Book

    World News Toronto Sun
    Donald Trump was threatened with castration by an angry New Jersey mobster after the billionaire allegedly tried to seduce the gangster's daughter in the 1980s. Journalist David Cay Johnston alleges in his book The Making of Donald Trump that the Republican presidential candidate was smitten with the daughter of high-rolling gambler and occasional mobster Robert Libutti while still married to his first wife Ivana. Source
  • At least 53 killed in overloaded train derailment in Cameroon

    World News CBC News
    Cameroon's transport minister says at least 53 people have died after a train overloaded with passengers derailed along the route that links the country's two major cities. Transport Minister Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo'o said the derailment Friday also injured at least 300 people. Source
  • Researchers uncover structure of marijuana receptor that makes humans 'high'

    World News CBC News
    Researchers have the clearest-ever picture of the receptor that gives humans the 'high' from marijuana, which could lead to a better understanding of how the drug affects humans. Scientists have long known that molecules from THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, bind to and activate the receptor known as CB1. Source
  • Winnipeg police investigate whether infant suffered fentanyl overdose

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG -- Police in Winnipeg are investigating whether a young child suffered a possible fentanyl overdose. Const. Rob Carver says paramedics were called to a home Tuesday night and found a child under the age of eighteen months in critical condition. Source
  • 'Frantic' doggy-style bent man's 'penis in half'

    World News Toronto Sun
    A British man is breaking his silence after bending “his penis in half” after he and his girlfriend engaged in a vigorous sex romp. Steven Horden, 37, told The UK Sun he and gal pal Kiera Diss were trying for a baby when the bizarre incident occurred. Source
  • Canadian parents spend a quarter of their salary on child care — a third if they're single

    Canada News CBC News
    Canadian families spend almost one-quarter of their income on child care, a ratio that is much higher than in other parts of the world, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says. In a wide-ranging report on the status of young people around the world, the group of wealthy nations found Canada to be among the most expensive for daycare among its 35 members. Source
  • Alberta man designs 'theft-proof' poppy box

    Canada News CTV News
    An Alberta man who was tired of hearing about poppy box thefts has taken matters into his own hands. Dan Kroffat, a businessman and former Canadian professional wrestler, said he has tweaked the traditional poppy box design so that it can’t be stolen. Source
  • Russian Cannibals had sauna sex with 'drunk' woman before serving her at dinner party

    World News Toronto Sun
    Two Russian cannibals had a raunchy threesome with an unsuspecting “drunk” woman before killing then eating her. Cops say Nadezhda Avakumova, 31, was drunk when Kirill Nemykin and Sergey Metlyayev invited her for a sauna in 2014, according to the UK Mirror. Source