Date
27 May 2017
A US sailor is seen apologizing for his patrol boat having entered Iranian territorial waters in the Gulf by mistake, in this still image taken from video on Wednesday. Credit: Reuters/IRNN
A US sailor is seen apologizing for his patrol boat having entered Iranian territorial waters in the Gulf by mistake, in this still image taken from video on Wednesday. Credit: Reuters/IRNN

Iran frees detained US sailors

Iran freed ten US sailors a day after detaining them for straying into Iranian waters, bringing a swift end to an incident and signaling better ties between the two sides in the wake of a historic nuclear accord.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said on Wednesday that it freed the sailors after determining that they had entered Iranian territorial waters by mistake.

“Our technical investigations showed the two US Navy boats entered Iranian territorial waters inadvertently,” Reuters quoted the IRGC as saying in a statement carried by state television.

“They were released in international waters after they apologized.” 

Iranian state television later released footage of one of the detained men, identified as a US navy commander, apologizing for the incident.

An Iranian official said earlier that the US boats had strayed due to a broken navigation system.

The Pentagon said there were no indications the sailors were harmed while in Iranian custody.

The quick resolution contrasted with previous cases in which British servicemen were held by Iran for considerably longer, in once case almost two weeks, Reuters noted.

The move came as a UN nuclear watchdog is expected to confirm Friday that Iran has curtailed its nuclear program.

The verification will pave the way for the unfreezing of billions of dollars of Iranian assets and an end to bans that have crippled oil exports.

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RC

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