An international mini-crisis was created Tuesday when Iran seized two U.S. Navy boats and detained 10 U.S. sailors, alleging they had trespassed into Iranian waters, but the sailors and boats have both now been released after Iran accepted the U.S.’s explanation that the alleged incursion was the unintentional result of a problem with navigational systems. From the New York Times:
The United States Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain confirmed the release, saying in a statement that there were “no indications that the sailors were harmed during their brief detention” and that the Navy would “investigate the circumstances that led to the sailors’ presence in Iran.”
The Times spoke to a “prominent conservative” connected to the Iranian regime who said the situation was resolved in part through contact between Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who worked closely on the multinational deal to relax economic sanctions on Iran in return for a curtailing of its nuclear program. Since Iran appears to have complied with the restrictions on its nuclear facilities, those sanctions could be officially dropped within days—timing that may not be coincidental to the U.S. sailors’ prompt release.