US Navy to discipline eight over capture by Iran at sea

An undated picture released by Iran's Revolutionary Guards website shows American sailors sitting in an unknown place in Iran.
An undated picture released by Iran's Revolutionary Guards website shows American sailors sitting in an unknown place in Iran.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US Navy is to discipline eight officers and enlisted personnel after Iran briefly captured two small patrol boats in a humiliating incident in January, an official said on Thursday (June 30).

"Eight sailors will face non-judicial punishment," a US Navy official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A ninth person involved in the case, a captain, has already been fired but will not face additional disciplinary action, the official said.

A report released Thursday details a litany of problems in the January 12 incident, pointing out a string of leadership and training flaws.

Ten sailors were briefly held by Iran after their two boats were intercepted in Iranian waters near Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf.

Iranian media broadcast humiliating images of the US sailors during their detention, showing them kneeling on their boats at gunpoint with their hands on their heads.

Though the sailors were held for less than 24 hours, the incident was a major embarrassment for the US Navy and President Barack Obama.

The United States carefully avoided escalating the situation, maintaining a conciliatory tone with Tehran days ahead of the implementation of a historic international deal over Iran's nuclear program.