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Iran detains 10 US sailors

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WASHINGTON — Iran has detained 10 mariners on board two small U.S. Naval force water crafts on Tuesday.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces have detained theme when one of their boats apparently became disabled in the Persian Gulf.

The semi-official Iranian news agency FARS reported that Iranian Revolutionary Guards arrested 10 U.S. troops for trespassing in Iranian waters. Nine men and one woman were detained. The vessels carried three .50-caliber machine guns, the agency reported.

Pentagon authorities said the occurrence happened near Farsi Island in the Gulf. They said one of their two small boats had mechanical trouble, causing one or both to run aground. The sailors were then picked up by Iran and taken to the island. But it is unclear where they are now.

The boats were moving between Kuwait and Bahrain at the time, and the Pentagon briefly lost contact with the crews.

The U.S. is communicating with Iranian officials, who gave assurances of the sailors’ safety, the official said.

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, who promised the two ships would be allowed to continue their voyage, likely at dawn Wednesday local time, according to a senior U.S. official.

The boats drifted into Iranian coastal waters in the vicinity of Farsi Island in the north Persian Gulf, apparently after one experienced mechanical problems and the other attempted to render aid. It was not clear how far into Iranian waters they traveled, but the move was unintentional, the senior official said.

The incident could be a key test for Iran-U.S. relations following a nuclear deal in which the United States and other world powers agreed to lift international sanctions in return for Iran reducing its nuclear program.

Agencies

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Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih wins presidency

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MALE — Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has beaten incumbent Abdulla Yameen according to provisional results, the country’s Elections Commission says.

Results released by the Elections Commission showed Mr Solih securing 133,808 votes (58.3 percent) compared to the 95,526 for incumbent Abdulla Yameen. The voter turnout was over 88 per cent out of the 262,000-strong electorate.

The Maldives government has acknowledged the opposition’s victory after the vote on Sunday, a surprise defeat for President Abdulla Yameen who was widely expected to win.

There were no other candidates.

Mr Solih had the backing of a united opposition trying to oust Mr Yameen, but struggled for visibility with the electorate, with local media fearful of falling afoul of heavy-handed decrees and reporting restrictions.

“I call on Yameen to respect the will of the people and bring about a peaceful, smooth transfer of power,” Solih said on television, shortly after interim results from the country’s election commission.

“We have won this election with a comfortable majority,” Solih said.

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