Iranian military forces seized two U.S. Navy boats on Tuesday and are holding them in custody, the AP reports. However, Tehran has assured U.S. officials that the ten-person crew and the vessels “will promptly be allowed to continue their journey.”
U.S. officials said that mechanical troubles in one of the boats caused them to go off course near Farsi Island, and Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook told the AP that they lost contact with the ships somewhere between Kuwait and Bahrain. The next thing they knew, the ships and the troops aboard had been picked up by Iran.
Secretary of State John Kerry sprang to action when he heard the news. He hopped on the phone with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, with whom, after months of nuclear talks, he has forged a personal relationship.
This incident follows another odd Iranian military mistake in December, when Iranian naval vessels conducted rocket tests near U.S. warships passing through the Strait of Hormuz.
Senator Barbara Boxer said on MSNBC that negotiations to get the U.S. Navy ships back “is working … hopefully this will be resolved, and it won’t be an issue that we’re talking about in a couple of hours.”