Previous reports from a semi-official news agency in Iran claimed that the U.S. had apologized in order to regain custody of 10 U.S. sailors, but a State Department spokesman said Wednesday that this claim is absolutely false.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps released the 10 U.S. Navy sailors Wednesday. Following the release, Fars News Agency said that “the Americans have extended an apology.” An apology is apparently what Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif demanded in order for the release to be secured. But State Department spokesman John Kirby tweeted out Wednesday morning that there is “Absolutely ZERO truth to rumors that @JohnKerry apologized to Iran over Sailors. Nothing to apologize for.”
Secretary Ash Carter applauded Kerry for negotiating a quick return. In total, the incident only lasted about 16 hours, as the IRGC stated that entry in Iranian waters by nine men and one woman was unintentional. The 10 were held at Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf, where the IRGC has a base. While the 10 were supposed to be released “promptly,” the IRGC decided to hold them overnight.
“I want to personally thank Secretary of State John Kerry for his diplomatic engagement with Iran to secure our sailors’ swift return,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a statement Wednesday. “Around the world, the U.S. Navy routinely provides assistance to foreign sailors in distress, and we appreciate the timely way in which this situation was resolved.”
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