DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – An Iranian ship believed to be the base of the Military Revolutionary Guard and has been anchored in the Red Sea outside Yemen for years, Tehran admitted on Wednesday.
Iran’s foreign ministry confirmed the attack on MV Saviz, suspected of being an Israeli operation – although Tehran did not immediately blame its enemies in the region. The attack comes as Iran and world powers sit down in Vienna to talk for the first time about the United States potentially joining the tattered agreement aimed at suppressing Iran’s nuclear program. Show that events outside of negotiations could make those efforts fail.
The long-standing presence of ships in the region has been repeatedly criticized by Saudi Arabia, while Western and UN experts say Iran has armed and supported Yemen̵7;s Houthi rebels in the war. For many years of that country Iran denies arming the Houthis, although components found in rebel weapons links back to Tehran.
Iran previously referred to Saviz as aiding aid in the effort. “Anti-piracy” in the Red Sea and Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which is the focus of international shipping. A statement by Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh described the vessel as a commercial vessel.
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“Fortunately, no deaths have been reported … and a technical investigation is ongoing,” Khatibzadeh said. “Our country will take all necessary measures through international authorities.”
In an earlier state TV statement, the broadcaster cited a New York Times story, referring to an unnamed US official, telling the newspaper that Israel informed America to attack the ship on Tuesday morning. Israeli officials declined to comment on the attack as accessed by The Associated Press, as did Saviz owners.
Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz, while declined to say whether his country had opened the attack, described Iran and its regional allies as a major threat.
“Israel has to keep defending itself,” Gantz told reporters. “Wherever we meet challenges and operational needs, we will continue.”
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani called the Vienna talks a He was “successful” while speaking to the cabinet on Wednesday.
“Today a unified statement was heard that all parties concluded that there is no better solution than this one,” he said.
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Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency, believed to be close to the Guard, reported that a mine planted on Saviz’s ship caused an explosion. Mines are a type of landmines that are normally attached to the sides of a ship. It later explodes and can cause massive damage to the ship. Iran has not blamed anyone for the attacks and said Iranian officials likely offer more information in the coming days.
In a statement, the US Army’s Central Command simply said: “Be aware of media reports of an incident involving Saviz in the Red Sea.”
“We can confirm that no US forces were involved in this incident,” the order said. “We don’t have additional information to provide”
Saviz, owned by the Islamic Republic of Iran shipping line linked to the state, arrived in the Red Sea at the end of 2016, according to ship tracking data. Over the years it has flown off the Dahlak Archipelago, an archipelago of Eritrea in Africa. It is likely to replenish the supply and shift crews through Iranian ships using waterways.
A briefing from the Saudi Armed Forces previously obtained by the AP shows men aboard a ship dressed in military wear as well as a small ship capable of carrying cargo across the Yemeni coast. The material also includes pictures showing several antennas on board that the Saudi government described as unusual for commercial cargo ships, suggesting electronic surveillance, other images show. It was seen that this ship had a. 50 caliber
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The Washington Institute for Near East Policy has called Saviz the “mother of Iranians” in the region, similarly described as a intelligence and armory gathering base for the Guard. The policy papers from the institute did not explain how they came to their conclusions, although analysts had regular access to the Gulf and Israeli military resources.
Saviz was under international sanctions until the 2015 Iran nuclear deal with world powers, which gave Tehran a relief from sanctions in exchange for limiting uranium enrichment. The Trump administration later renewed American sanctions against Saviz as part of a unilateral decision to withdraw from the deal.
In June 2019, Saudi Arabia flew seriously ill Iranians from Saviz after Tehran submitted a request for assistance from the United Nations.
Amid widening tensions between the United States and Iran, a series of mysterious explosions have targeted warships in the region, including some of the U.S. Navy blaming Iran. Among the recently damaged ships is an Israeli car carrier in the Netanyahu attack blaming Iran. The other is an Iranian cargo ship in the Mediterranean.
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Iran has also blamed Israel for several recent attacks, including a mysterious explosion in July that destroyed an advanced centrifuge assembly plant at the Natanz nuclear plant, another of the November killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran’s top scientist. The Islamic Republic’s military nuclear program two decades ago.