Iranian cargo ship 'attacked' in Red Sea
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The semi-official Iranian news agency Tasnim said the vessel was targeted by a limpet mine off the coast of Eritrea and was affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Tasnim identified the ship as the Iran Saviz. It said: “The vessel Iran Saviz has been stationed in the Red Sea for the past few years to support Iranian commandos sent on commercial vessel escort missions.”
The US has issued a statement saying it was not behind the attack. It is the latest in a reported series of attacks on Israeli and Iranian-owned cargo ships since late February in which the two arch-enemies accused each other of responsibility. The incidents have occurred since US President Joe Biden took office in January with a commitment to rejoin world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran – abandoned by Donald Trump in a move welcomed by Israel – if Tehran returns to full compliance with the deal.
(C) GETTY Iran cargo ship
Iran and the US have launched indirect talks in Vienna that included the other powers on ways to revive the deal.
Both sides described the talks as “constructive.” Israeli officials have so far declined to comment on the attack. Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there should be no return to the “dangerous” nuclear accord.
(C) GETTY Iran cargo ship (C) GOOGLE Iran cargo ship
He said: “In parallel, we must continue to fend off Iranian belligerence in our region. “And this threat is no theoretical matter. I’m not uttering it rhetorically.
“We must take action in the face of the fanatical regime in Iran, which simply threatens to wipe us off the face of the earth.” The Biden administration is not anticipating any changes in Iran policy amid the negotiations over reinstating the nuclear deal, according to White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki. There have been three other reported attacks on Iranian or Israeli-owned shipping since February 25.
On March 25 a cargo ship owned by an Israeli company was damaged by a missile in the Arabian Sea in what was suspected to be an Iranian attack, according to a senior Israeli security official. The ship was able to continue its journey. Two weeks before, Iranian state media quoted an Iranian investigator as saying Israel was highly likely to have been behind an explosion that caused a small fire on an Iranian container ship in the Mediterranean.
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(C) GETTY Iran cargo ship
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz declined to comment directly at the time but said Iran regularly sent weapons to its proxies in the region. On February 26 Mr Netanyahu blamed Iran for an explosion aboard an Israeli-owned vehicle-carrier ship in the Gulf of Oman. A US official said the blast ripped holes in both sides of its hull and an Israeli official said limpet mines were used.
Iran denied responsibility.
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