IRGC Releases US Sailors

IRGC Releases  US SailorsIRGC Releases  US Sailors

US sailors aboard two US Navy patrol boats seized by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' naval forces on Thursday for violating Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf were released after spending one night in detention.

The IRGC said in a statement that it freed the sailors after determining they had entered the Iranian territorial waters by mistake.

"After technical investigations in cooperation with relevant political and security authorities, it was determined that the two US Navy boats entered Iranian territorial waters inadvertently," said the statement carried by IRNA.

"They were released in international waters after they apologized. The Americans made a commitment not to repeat such mistakes," the statement said.

The IRGC had said earlier that the boats were caught 2 kilometers inside Iran's territorial waters "snooping around."

France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier was near the seized US craft, which were en route from Kuwait to Bahrain.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had assured US Secretary of State John Kerry that the detainees were safe and well, and would be allowed to continue their journey promptly.

Republican officials and presidential candidates, who opposed the Iran nuclear accord, used the incident to criticize US President Barack Obama.

"It's just an indication of where the hell we're going. I mean hopefully they get released and fast," businessman Donald Trump, who leads the Republican field in the race for US president, said at a rally in Iowa, according to Reuters.

IRGC Naval Force Commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said the sailors were detained without resistance and were transferred to Farsi Island, near where the boats were seized.

"At the time of the sailors' detention, the aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman demonstrated unprofessional behavior for about 40 minutes," the commander was quoted by Fars News Agency as saying.

"The IRGC is responsible for the security of the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf and resolutely exercises its sovereignty."