- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 13, 2016

President Obama’s spokesman said he is “pleased” that Iran released 10 U.S. sailors Wednesday after their patrol boats strayed into Iranian waters.

White House secretary Josh Earnest said the peaceful resolution of the incident “underscores the importance of the diplomatic lines of communication between” Secretary of State John F. Kerry and his Iranian counterpart.

Mr. Earnest, traveling with the president aboard Air Force One to Nebraska, would not comment on reports about Iran’s treatment of the sailors or the reasons they sailed into Iranian waters.

“We’re still trying to learn more about how exactly that all happened,” he said.
A video aired Wednesday by Iranian state television shows an American sailor apologizing for entering Iranian waters.

“It was a mistake. It was our fault. And we apologize for our mistake,” said the U.S sailor, who was identified by Iran’s Press TV as the commander. “It was a misunderstanding. We did not mean to go into Iranian territorial waters.”



The unidentified sailor said the Iranian behavior was “fantastic,” and he thanked them for their hospitality.

The video also shows the lone female sailor wearing a head covering in accordance with Islamic tradition. It was not clear whether the male sailor was speaking voluntarily.

The sailors were released to the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf after being captured by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Tuesday. Iran’s semi-official FARS News Agency, citing a statement from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, said the sailors were released “after they extended an apology.”

The Revolutionary Guard said, “The Americans have undertaken not to repeat such mistakes.”

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