Navy Secretary Ray Mabus saluted Secretary of State John Kerry's work in negotiating the return of 10 U.S. sailors held by Iran at a Thursday forum, and said he and other Navy officials have been in touch with the troops' families.
Speaking at the Surface Navy Association Symposium near Washington, D.C., Mabus declined to provide more specifics on the sailors' return or how they came to be in Iranian waters.
"They appear to be in very good shape, we've been in touch with all the families, and we'll know more as they're debriefed over the next little while," Mabus said. "But I do want to say how good it was of Secretary Kerry and his aggressive work to get those sailors and those folks back so quickly. We'll have more to say as we debrief."
Mabus' comments come two days after two Navy riverine command boats carrying the sailors, nine men and one woman, were seized and held by Iranian military forces on Tuesday. They were released and returned to U.S. custody on Wednesday.
Both Iran and U.S. officials have characterized the presence of the boats in Iranian waters as an accident, though few specifics have emerged about the circumstances that led to the incident.
While Kerry publicly thanked the Iranian government for its swift response and treatment of the sailors, some have expressed outrage over photos and videos circulating within Iranian press agencies that show sailors kneeling with hands on their heads as they surrendered to Iranian troops, and videos that appear to show one of the sailors apologizing to an unseen Iranian official.
The Navy so far has had little to say about the incident. On Tuesday, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson declined to provide any comment about the then-developing situation.