10 American sailors in Iranian custody, situation expected to be resolved quickly

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(Jan. 12, 2016)– Ten American sailors are in Iranian custody after two small U.S. naval craft apparently briefly entered Iranian territorial waters, a U.S. senior defense official said Tuesday.

The official, however, expects the situation to be resolved quickly.

A senior administration official told CNN that the U.S. lost contact with the two ships, which were en route from Kuwait to Bahrain.

“We subsequently have been in communication with Iranian authorities, who have informed us of the safety and well-being of our personnel,” the senior administration official said. “We have received assurances the sailors will promptly be allowed to continue their journey.”

The U.S. is uncertain whether the vessels, which were sailing near Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf, intentionally entered Iranian waters, and the senior defense official said no distress call was made by the ships.

Secretary of State John Kerry called his Iranian counterpart to try to resolve the matter.

“We’re aware. We’re working on it and we hope to resolve the situation,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told CNN.

Iranian representatives at the U.N. mission in New York had no comment.

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