The Pentagon said Tuesday it briefly lost contact with two small US Navy boats operating in the Persian Gulf, which had been picked up by Iran.
According to a senior defense official, Iranian authorities have assured US officials that the crews of two small US Navy craft will be allowed to continue traveling from Kuwait to Bahrain.
Speaking on background, the official confirmed that contact was lost with the two vessels earlier today.
“We subsequently have been in communication with Iranian authorities, who have informed us of the safety and well-being of our personnel,” the official said. “We have received assurances the sailors will promptly be allowed to continue their journey.”
Senior military officials speaking to NBC News said that up to ten US sailors were on a training mission around noon ET when one of the vessels — small riverines — began experiencing mechanical difficulties and drifted into Iranian waters.
The sailors were detained by Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces on Farsi Island.
MINA news agency reports that US Secretary of State John Kerry is in communication with Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, and one senior official speaking to NBC says that Tehran believes the incident to be an accident.