DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The U.S. Navy says Iran has once again briefly seized an American sea drone before letting it go. Tehran says its navy seized two drones in the Red Sea before releasing them.
Cmdr. Timothy Hawkins, a spokesman for the Navy’s Mideast-based 5th Fleet, acknowledged the incident on Friday to The Associated Press. He declined to immediately elaborate.
Iranian state television showed images of at least one drone on the deck of a vessel with sailors looking at it. It said the Iranian navy’s Jamaran destroyer found “several unmanned spying vessels abandoned in the international maritime routes” on Thursday.
“After two warnings to an American destroyer to prevent possible incidents, Jamaran seized the two vessels,” state TV said. “After securing the international shipping waterway, the Naval Squadron No. 84 released the vessels in a safe area.”
This marks the second-such incident involving Iran in recent days as negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers hang in the balance. The earlier incident involved Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, not its regular navy.