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U.S. Navy Fires Commander Of Sailors Who Strayed Into Iranian Waters

The U.S. Navy fired the commander of 10 sailors who were briefly captured by Iran after straying into Iranian waters in January.

The U.S. Navy said it fired the commander of 10 American sailors who wandered into Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf and were briefly captured by Iran.

The Navy said on May 12 that it lost confidence in Commander Eric Rasch, who was the executive officer of the coastal riverine squadron that included the 10 sailors at the time of the incident in January.

A Navy official told AP that he failed to provide effective leadership, leading to a lack of oversight, complacency, and failure to maintain standards in the unit.

Rasch has been relieved of his command duties and reassigned. Several other sailors have received administrative reprimands. The Navy's investigation is expected to be finished by the end of the month, and others are likely to be disciplined.

The sailors were detained for 15 hours after their boat drifted into Iranian waters during a 300-mile journey from Kuwait to Bahrain, where the Navy's 5th Fleet is located.

The incident raised tensions between the United States and Iran, primarily because of images Iran published of the soldiers kneeling with their hands on their heads during their detention.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters