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Pentagon confirms Iran has two US navy vessels in custody

Two small Navy ships on their way from Kuwait to Bahrain have been detained by Iran in the Persian Gulf. Tehran says it will return both the crew and vessels promptly.

Officials said on Tuesday that Washington was in communication with Tehran and working to recover the US sailors who were taken into custody after Iran detained two US ships in the Persian Gulf.

"Earlier today, we lost contact with two small US naval craft en route from Kuwait to Bahrain," a US official said according to AFP news agency. "We subsequently have been in communication with Iranian authorities, who have informed us of the safety and well-being of our personnel."

The vessels were seized by Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Representatives from the elite armed forces group released a statement following the interception.

At 16:30 (13:00 GMT) Tuesday, two American combat boats carrying 10 armed marines who had entered Iranian territory were seized by the combat units of the Guards naval force and moved to Farsi island," the statement read.

Sailors likely to be released shortly

The ships purportedly suffered from mechanical errors and drifted into Iranian waters. The ten sailors - nine men and one woman - were being held on the island for a time, although their current whereabouts are unknown.

Both the White House and the Pentagon have confirmed that Iran is in possession of the vessels and crew. US Secretary of State John Kerry was in talks with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif over the incident.

Reports suggested the sailors would likely be released Wednesday morning.

blc/jm (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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