Two small U.S. Navy vessels and 10 sailors are in Iranian custody after being picked up in the Persian Gulf, CNN reports.
The two boats were headed from Kuwait to Bahrain, officials say. The Pentagon says they have received “assurances” from Iranian officials.
“We have been in contact with Iran and have received assurances that the crew and the vessels will be returned promptly,” spokesman Peter Cook told the Associated Press.
An official told CNN it does not appear to be a “hostile act.”
The sailors are not expected to be released until Wednesday morning in Iran, when it is daylight.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. One of the Vessels Apparently Had a Mechanical Issue
The Pentagon believes one of the vessels had a mechanical issue near Farsi Island and ran aground, the Associated Press reports.
“We’re aware. We’re working on it and we hope to resolve the situation,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told CNN.
“Certainly, everybody should be aware of the fact we have been in touch with the Iranians and they have assured us that our sailors are safe and that they’ll be allowed to continue their journey promptly,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told CNN.
2. The Sailors Are Being Held By the Revolutionary Guards, Iranian Media Reports
The sailors are being held by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Iranian media, the Fars News Agency, is claiming.
According to the Fars report, the Revolutionary Guards “arrested” nine men and one woman.
The Revolutionary Guards Navy held 15 British Navy personnel for 13 days in April 2007, the BBC reported at the time.
3. Secretary of State John Kerry Has Reached Out to Iran’s Foreign Minister
Secretary of State John Kerry has reached out to Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, who he has been dealing with for several years during nuclear negotiations, the Associated Press reports.
Kerry has recently said the implementation of the nuclear deal is “days away,” which would suspend oil, trade and financial sanctions against Iran. The hardline Revolutionary Guards opposes the nuclear deal.
Officials learned about the situation at about 12:30 p.m. Eastern.
The situation in the Persian Gulf comes just hours before President Obama is set to deliver the State of the Union Address.
4. Iranian Media Says the Vessels Had Guns & Were ‘Snooping Around’ in Iranian Waters
The Fars News agency says the two U.S. Navy vessels were armed with 50 caliber guns and were “snooping around” in Iranian waters, according to the New York Times.
The news agency says GPS equipment was confiscated.
5. The U.S. Navy Released Video Showing an Iranian Vessel Firing a Missile Near an American Aircraft Carrier
There have been issues recently involving U.S. ships and the Iranian navy in the Persian Gulf.
The U.S. Navy recently released video that it says shows Iranian Revolutionary Guards vessel firing unguided rockets on December 26 near warships, including the aircraft carrier the USS Harry S Truman in the Strait of Hormuz.
American officials called it “highly provocative, unsafe and unprofessional.”