DEVELOPING: The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Navy (IRCGN) on Wednesday released the 10 U.S. Navy sailors whom were detained after two Riverine boats drifted into Iranian territorial waters, a statement broadcast on state TV initially reported.
It was not clear whether the two countries had made any specific arrangement to secure the sailors’ release, but Secretary of State John Kerry thanked Iranian authorities in a written statement “for their cooperation in swiftly resolving this matter.”
The incident this week comes on the heels of an incident in late December when the IRCGN conducted what U.S. officials called a “highly provocative” live-fire rocket test next to the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier. In fact, a Pentagon official told Fox News that the sailors were initially taken to the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio before flying to the aircraft carrier for additional debriefing.
“The first concern is the safety and well being of the crew and then we will investigate the incident,” the official said. The Pentagon statement also promised the Navy would “investigate the circumstances that led to the Sailors’ presence in Iran.”
However, it remains unclear how the Iranians were able to take control of the boats. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican presidential candidate, said the detention of the sailor’s was a “manifestation of the weakness of Obama’s foreign policy.”
“Our enemies don’t fear us,” Cruz said, adding that his prayers were with the sailors and their families.