U.S. says two Navy boats in Iranian custody

The White House said that it was working to resolve the situation after Iran seized navy boats in the Arabian Gulf

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The Pentagon said it had briefly lost contact with two small Navy boats in the Arabian Gulf but has received assurances from Iran that the crew and vessels will be returned safely and promptly.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif gave an assurance to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that U.S. sailors would be allowed to continue their journey promptly.

A Pentagon spokesman told The Associated Press that the boats were moving between Kuwait and Bahrain when the U.S. lost contact with them.

“We have been in contact with Iran and have received assurances that the crew and the vessels will be returned promptly,” said the spokesman.

The White House meanwhile said it is working to resolve the situation with the seized navy boats, and wants the U.S. personnel to be returned to normal deployment.

A U.S. defense official quoted by Reuters said that the U.S. had received assurances that its sailors will promptly be allowed to continue their journey.

U.S. news channel Fox reported that the U.S. sailors had drifted into Iranian territorial waters. U.S. officials said 10 sailors on the boats were in Iranian custody.

The circumstances surrounding the seizure of the boats – and the current status of the two vessels and their crew – are still unclear.

[Developing story]

(With the Associated Press and Reuters)

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