Iranian ship 'Saviz' attacked which was stationed in the Red Sea

The alleged incident was the latest in a reported series of attacks on Israeli and Iranian-owned ships since late February [File: Marwan Naamani/AFP]

According to the semi-official news agency Tasnim, which cited information gathered by its reporter, the Iranian vessel Saviz was attacked by limpet mines in the Red Sea.

“For the past few years, the vessel Iran Saviz has been stationed in the Red Sea to assist Iranian commandos sent on the commercial vessel (anti-piracy) escort missions,” according to Tasnim.

Unnamed sources told Al Arabiya TV that the vessel was attacked off the coast of Eritrea and was linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guards, but there was no evidence to back up the claim.

The incident elicited no immediate response from the Iranian government.

It was the latest in a string of confirmed attacks on Israeli and Iranian-owned ships since late February, in which the arch-enemies blamed each other.

The incidents have occurred since US President Joe Biden took office in January with a promise to rejoin world powers' 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran if Tehran returned to full compliance with the deal, which was scrapped by his predecessor Donald Trump in a move welcomed by Israel.

On Tuesday, Iran and the US held informal talks in Vienna with other forces on ways to resurrect the nuclear agreement. The talks were described as “constructive” by both Iran and the United States.

'Iranian belligerence' 

Israeli officials have refused to comment on the suspected attack on the Iranian ship on Tuesday.

Before the news of the attack broke, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told lawmakers from his right-wing Likud group that the “dangerous” nuclear deal could not be revisited.

“At the same time, we must continue to protect our area from Iranian belligerence,” he said.

"And this isn't a hypothetical threat. I'm not saying that in a rhetorical way. In the face of Iran's fanatical regime, which threatens to wipe us off the face of the planet, we must act.”

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Tuesday that the Biden administration does not anticipate any improvements in Iran policy as part of the talks to re-establish the nuclear agreement.

Since February 25, three more attacks on Iranian or Israeli-owned ships have been registered.

According to a senior Israeli security official, a cargo ship operated by an Israeli company was destroyed by a missile in the Arabian Sea on March 25 in what was believed to be an Iranian attack. He said that the ship was able to continue its voyage.

An Iranian investigator said two weeks ago that Israel was highly likely to be behind an explosion that triggered a small fire on an Iranian container ship in the Mediterranean, according to Iranian state media.

At the time, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz refused to comment directly but said Iran sent weapons to its regional proxies on a regular basis.

Netanyahu blamed Iran for an explosion on an Israeli-owned vehicle-carrier ship in the Gulf of Oman on February 26. The blast tore holes in both sides of the ship's hull, according to a US official, and limpet mines were used, according to an Israeli official. Iran has denied any involvement.

Publish : 2021-04-07 08:31:00

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