USA: Iran ‘forced to release’ two drones

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An Iranian warship was forced to release two US drones in the Red Sea, the US Navy’s 5th Fleet said in a statement, according to Bloomberg.

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The Jamaran, an Islamic Republic navy ship, seized two unmanned vessels at about 2 p.m. local time on Thursday, before returning them to the US Navy at 8 a.m. of the following day, according to the announcement. The US used two guided missile destroyers and helicopters to secure the release, the statement said.

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Iranian state television had previously reported that the country’s forces had seized the boats because they were endangering safe navigation in the waterway.

The US Navy said the vessels were unarmed, did not pose a threat to ships in the area and had been operating in close proximity for more than 200 days, the statement said. The ships took non-obtrusive photographs of the surrounding area at a distance of at least four nautical miles from the nearest traffic lane.

The seizure came two days after the US said it had thwarted an Iranian attempt to seize one of its unmanned ships in the Persian Gulf.

The two sides have been engaged in negotiations to curb Iran’s nuclear program, which appear to have stalled in the past week. The US is pursuing another agreement similar to the one signed in 2015 and later abandoned by President Donald Trump.

Source: Capital

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