Date :Wednesday, January 13th, 2016 | Time : 10:22 |ID: 25849 | Print

Iran releases 10 US sailors detained over territorial waters breach

SHAFAQNA – Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps says it has released 10 US Navy troops who had been detained earlier after their armed boats strayed into Iranian territorial waters. The Iranian military were convinced that the incident was caused by faulty navigation equipment.

Earlier, Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, the chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Navy, said a US aircraft carrier deployed to the region had acted “provocatively” in the wake of the incident.

He also said that Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif had demanded a formal apology from US Secretary of State John Kerry for the breach of Iranian sovereignty.

Fadavi later said that a broken navigation system appears to be at fault in the incident and that the US sailors were likely to be released soon.

“The final order will be issued soon and they will probably be released,” he said.

Meanwhile, Iran’s army chief, Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, said the boat incident should be a warning to hawks in Washington.

“This incident in the Persian Gulf, which probably will not be the American forces’ last mistake in the region, should be a lesson to troublemakers in the US Congress,” he was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

Two US boats armed with machine guns were detained about a mile into Iranian territorial waters, reportedly after one of them suffered a mechanical failure.

Last month, the US condemned Iran for conducting tests of a ballistic missile system in the Strait of Hormuz, saying the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier and the USS Bulkeley destroyer were in proximity.

The incident comes at a crucial moment for the nuclear deal between Tehran and six leading world powers, as Iranian nuclear scientists are about to disable the Arak heavy water reactor, paving the way for the lifting of economic sanctions on the Iranian oil industry.

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