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US sailors drifting into Iran waters not hostile: Spokesman

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman says the drifting of the US vessels into Iran’s territorial waters was no “hostile” act.

“It was established that their presence in [Iran's] sector was due to technical problems with the navigation systems” of the US vessels, Hossein Jaberi Ansari said on Wednesday.

He added that the US vessels were led out of Iran's territory after it was proven that the "entry of the vessels had not been a hostile act."

On Wednesday, Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy, said two US Navy crafts carrying 10 Marines had on Tuesday reached three miles into the waters surrounding the Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf.

However, the IRGC released the sailors on Wednesday, saying in a statement that "after technical and operational examinations done in interaction with the country’s relevant political and national security authorities and the establishment of the inadvertent and unintentional nature of the entry by the American Navy crafts and their apology, a decision was made to free them.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif  expressed his pleasure with the swift diplomatic resolution of the case of US sailors, hoping that the issue would become a model for future cases.

“(I am) happy to see dialog and respect, not threats and impetuousness, swiftly resolved the (US) sailors’ episode,” Zarif said in a post in his Twitter account. “Let’s learn from this latest example,” he added.

US Secretary of State John Kerry thanked Iranian authorities for their cooperation in the release of US Navy sailors.

Kerry who was addressing a press briefing at the National Defense University in Washington DC. said the peaceful resolution of the issue was a “testament to the critical role that diplomacy plays” in keeping the US safe.

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