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Iran's Revolutionary Guard likely to free US sailors

Ten American sailors being held by Iran's Revolutionary Guard are close to being released, pending orders from Iran's government. Diplomatic channels were opened as soon as two US frigates drifted into Iranian Waters.

The top ranking naval official in Iran's Revolutionary Guard has said the

10 US soldiers being held on Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf

were not likely to remain captive much longer.

Admiral Ali Fadavi said "this trespassing was not hostile or for spying purposes" and that the only thing needed for the troops to be released was for an order from further up the chain of command. This was thought likely to occur on Wednesday.

Fadavi said an investigation into the incident, which saw two ships drift from international waters into Iranian territory, was caused by a mechanical problem of some sort.

Ten soldiers – nine men and one woman – are being held by the Revolutionary Guard on Farsi Island. The boats were believed to be crossing the Gulf between Kuwait and Bahrain when US officials lost contact with them.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was in talks with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif over the incident. While there does not appear to be any risk of the incident spiraling out of control, Iran is criticizing the actions of the US vessels before they were apprehended.

"Naturally in territorial waters of the country any naval craft should announce their presence beforehand, especially if they are military," Fadavi said.

Fadavi also said Zarif had taken a strong stance with Kerry and asked him to apologize for the violation of Iranian territorial waters.

mz/rc (AFP, AP)

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