Video footage of one of the U.S. sailors detained by Iran apologizing for an unspecified action on state television was released Wednesday, despite assertions from Vice President Joe Biden that an official apology was not part of the deal to broker their release.
"It was a mistake that was our fault and we apologize, for our mistake," the sailor says.
The sailor also thanks Iran, which detained the crew of 10 overnight before releasing them early Wednesday, for its hospitality.
But in an interview with CBS This Morning, Biden was adamant that no apology was offered or asked for.
"When you have a problem with the boat, [do] you apologize the boat had a problem? No," Biden said. "And there was no looking for any apology. This was just standard nautical practice."
Two small U.S. Navy vessels were taken into custody Tuesday after losing contact en route from Kuwait to Bahrain.
Earlier Wednesday, the navy chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, Gen. Ali Fadavi, said the boats strayed off course "due to mechanical problems in their navigation system and that issue is being resolved."
Iranian state TV also released video footage of the arrest.
Images purporting to be of the sailors were also posted on Twitter by Iranian journalists, citing Iran's Revolutionary Guard, shortly after their release.
Following the sailors' release, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement thanking the Iranian authorities for their cooperation:
I'm very pleased that our sailors have been safely returned to U.S. hands.
As a former sailor myself, I know the importance of naval presence around the world and the critical work being done by our Navy in the Gulf region. I'm proud of our young men and women in uniform and know how seriously they take their responsibilities to one another and to other mariners in distress.
I want to express my gratitude to Iranian authorities for their cooperation in swiftly resolving this matter.
That this issue was resolved peacefully and efficiently is a testament to the critical role diplomacy plays in keeping our country safe, secure, and strong.
Kerry's Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, also tweeted that he was pleased the episode was resolved quickly.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said in a statement on Wednesday that he wanted to "personally thank Secretary of State John Kerry for his diplomatic engagement with Iran to secure our sailors' swift return."
"Around the world, the U.S. Navy routinely provides assistance to foreign sailors in distress, and we appreciate the timely way in which this situation was resolved," he added.
According to Iran's Fars News Agency, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps issued a statement on Wednesday saying "it has released the U.S. marines and their vessels in the international waters" following its investigation.
The U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs Office later released a statement to ABC News saying "there are no indications that the sailors were harmed during their brief detention."
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