Iran Seizes Two U.S. Navy Vessels, 10 American Sailors – Farsi Island is home to an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) military base …
Farsi Island is home to an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) military base.
It has been confirmed that the boats were captured by the IRGC, whose leaders are aligned with the regime’s hardliners and have expressed staunch opposition to the now-historic nuclear deal.
Key here: Iran’s Fars News agency says US sailors picked up by Revolutionary Guard Corps, from hardline camp & v. opposed to nuclear deal
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) January 12, 2016
Iran’s state-controlled Fars New Agency reported that one of the 10 sailors who have been detained is a woman. They also noted in their article that each of the boats is equipped with three 50 caliber machine guns. The IRGC has also confiscated GPS equipment from the vessels.
Iran media says Revolutionary Guard navy confiscated GPS equipment belonging to 10 US sailors it has arrested, “our border was crossed.”
— Thomas Erdbrink (@ThomasErdbrink) January 12, 2016
Senior U.S. officials told news outlets it is unclear if the ships strayed into Iranian waters before Tehran’s navy captured the vessels. Iran claims the U.S. ships illegally entered Iranian territory.
Secretary of State John Kerry has called Tehran hoping to secure the sailors’ immediate release, according to reports, which state Iran has agreed to let them go “within hours.”
At the same time Kerry was said to be on the phone with Iranian officials, his Twitter account posted the following:
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) January 12, 2016
Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook told AP Tuesday that the U.S. Navy ships were in transit between Kuwait and Bahrain when they lost contact with their base of communications.
“We have been in contact with Iran and have received assurances that the crew and vessels will be returned promptly,” Cook stated.
Iran has assured the U.S. of the sailors’ “safety and well-being” and “will promptly continue their journey,” a senior White House official told Fox News.
However, a report by the Tasnim News Agency only makes reference to release of the ships’ crew. In fact, the report twice makes a point to suggest that the boat’s occupants would be released, indicating a divergence from statements issued by the White House. Furthermore, the article in the Fars News Agency does not indicate the crew’s imminent release and even makes reference to repeated calls from U.S. officials for the release of prisoners that are currently being held in Iranian prisons.
Officials also indicated that, contrary to suggestions of an imminent release, the crew could be spending the night in captivity.
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) January 12, 2016
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