US Navy Vessels Detained By Iran To Be Released

US Navy Vessels Detained By Iran To Be Released
USS Nimitz and USS Chosin in China Sea US Navy Official Page / Flickr CC BY 2.0
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Two U.S. Navy vessels and their crews detained by Iran will be released Wednesday.


According to the defense officials, U.S. controllers lost contact with the crew, which included nine men and one woman, when the vessels were in the Persian Gulf between Kuwait and Bahrain. While one of the boats was traveling from Kuwait to Bahrain it experienced mechanical problems. Contact between the military and the boats was lost before the vessels entered Iranian waters.

“There may have been mechanical failure on one of the vessels, but it is unclear at this time,” Voice of America reports a defense official saying. “My assumption is that they were in Iranian territorial waters when they were detained.” Iran had assured that it will “promptly allow [the crews] to continue on their journey.”

The location where the boats had strayed is frequently used by the U.S., Iran and gulf countries for intelligence collection.

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Benjamin J. Rhodes, the American deputy national security adviser, acknowledged the incident and said the US was making efforts to ensure the service members return safely. “We were aware of circumstances surrounding a patrol in the Persian Gulf,” he said. “We are working to resolve the situation such that, obviously, any U.S. personnel are returned to their normal deployment.”

The detention of U.S. vessels was used by those opposing the Iran nuclear accord to criticize Obama. “It’s just an indication of where the hell we’re going. I mean hopefully they get released and fast,” Republican frontrunner Donald Trump said. Another Republican presidential candidate, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, was critical of Obama. “Iran is testing the boundaries of this administrations resolve and everybody knows the boundaries are pretty wide and the administration is willing to let them get away with many things. You’ll only see this accelerate since the deal was signed with Iran,” he said. “That’s why as president on my first day in office I will repeal the nuclear deal that Barack Obama has signed with Iran.”

The recent detention was the latest incident between forces of the two countries in the Gulf, Reuters reports. Last month, missiles were reportedly fired by an Iranian Revolutionary Guards vessel near ships. This included the aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman in the Strait of Hormuz.

In 2004, Iran had arrested a few members of the Royal Marines and naval personnel for entering its territorial waters. These personnel were part of the U.S.-led force in Iraq. They were released three days later. In 2009, five Britons en route from Bahrain to Dubai were detained by Iranian naval vessels.

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