Iran frees US sailors with start of nuclear deal in sight

Among them: Did the Americans accidentally navigate into Iranian waters, as Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said Thursday, and did mechanical difficulties play a role in them being there, as other military officials asserted?

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps have released 10 American sailors after investigations showed their patrol boats had entered Iranian waters unintentionally.

"I want to personally thank Secretary of State John Kerry for his diplomatic engagement with Iran to secure our sailors' swift return".

CNN reported that the official also said that the sailor who was questioned on camera by Iranian personnel indicated that he felt compelled by the Iranians to speak about how well he and his fellow naval personnel were treated.

On Wednesday, the head of Iran's armed forces said the seizure of the two US Navy boats and their crews should be a lesson to the US Congress trying to impose new sanctions on Tehran. One video showed a US sailor apologizing and calling it a mistake, but it is not clear whether it was recorded under duress.

American officials did not dispute that the vessels appeared to have been in Iranian territorial waters when they were intercepted.

The Navy commander seen in a video released by Iran and talking about being taken into custody while in Iranian waters has family in the Dayton area.

This comes on the heels of an incident in late December when Iran launched a rocket test near US warships and boats passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

Video showing the United States sailors kneeling and with their hands clasped behind their heads, and one of them apologizing, aired on U.S. television Wednesday, further angering lawmakers.

Mr Kerry negotiated the release in at least five phone calls with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet had no immediate comment or confirmation of the release. Global Positioning System devices aboard the boats enabled the Navy to determine, after the fact, that they were in Iranian waters, but the Navy was not immediately sure whether the crew members were safe or had gone overboard.

"For the most part, the gear we deployed with was largely there when we got the boats back", he said.

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