Pentagon: 2 US Navy boats held by Iran but will be returned

In this Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015 photo released by the U.S. Navy, guided-missile destroyer USS Bulkeley participates in a replenishment-at-sea with fleet replenishment oiler USNS John Lenthall in the Gulf of Oman. Iranian naval vessels conducted rocket tests last week near the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier, the USS Bulkeley destroyer and a French frigate, the FS Provence, and commercial traffic passing through the Strait of Hormuz, the American military said Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015 causing new tension between the two nations after a landmark nuclear deal. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class M. J. Lieberknecht/ U.S. Navy via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ten U.S. Navy sailors taken into custody by Iran after their two small boats drifted into Iranian waters are expected to be released as early as Wednesday morning local time.

American officials said late Tuesday that Tehran had assured them the crew and vessels would be returned safely and promptly. Meanwhile, the Navy chief of the powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guard said the American boats showed “unprofessional acts” for 40 minutes before being picked up by Iranian forces after entering the country’s territorial waters.

The navy chief, Gen. Ali Fadavi confirmed on state TV Wednesday that the Guard was holding the crew and their two small boats. The detainees included nine men and one woman, who were being held overnight at an Iranian base on Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf. They were expected to be transferred Wednesday to a U.S. ship in the region.


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