DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – An Iranian cargo ship believed to be the base of the military’s Revolutionary Guard and has been anchored in the Red Sea off Yemen for years, Tehran admitted on Wednesday.
Iran’s foreign ministry confirmed the attack on MV Saviz, suspected of being carried out by Israel. The attack comes as Iran and world powers sit down in Vienna for the first talk about the United States potentially re-joining the Tehran nuclear deal, showing that the challenges ahead do not stop. Just in those negotiations
The long-standing presence of ships in the region has been repeatedly criticized by Saudi Arabia, while Western and United Nations experts say Iran has armed and supported Yemen̵7;s Houthi rebels amid a long war. 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 the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a major choking point in international shipping. A statement by Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh described the vessel as a commercial vessel.
“Fortunately, no deaths were 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 referred to a New York Times story referring to an unnamed US official telling the newspaper that Israel informed America to attack the ship early this morning. Tuesday Israeli officials declined to comment on the incident, as reached by The Associated Press, as did Saviz owners.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday delivered a speech to Iran’s Likud party after being asked to form a government following the country’s latest election.
“We must not return to a dangerous nuclear deal with Iran because Iranian nuclear is an existential threat to the State of Israel and a threat to global security,” Netanyahu said.
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.
Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency, believed to be close to the Guard, blamed the explosion of the explosives placed on Saviz’s hull, did not blame anyone for the attack and said Iranian officials should provide more information in the coming days. page
In a statement, the US Army Central Command said it was “aware of media reports of an incident involving Saviz in the Red Sea”.
“We can confirm that no US forces were involved in the incident,” the order said.
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 floated off the Dahlak Islands, a network of neighboring African offshore islands of Eritrea in the Red Sea. 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 fatigue camouflage, including a small ship capable of carrying cargo across the Yemen coast. The briefing also included pictures showing multiple antennas aboard ships described by the Saudi government as unusual for commercial cargo ships, pointing out that other electronic surveillance images were carried out. It shows that this ship has a .22 caliber machine gun. 50 caliber
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 that gave Tehran an economic relief 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 out of 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.
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.
Associated Press journalists Nasser Karimi and Mehdi Fattahi in Tehran, Iran contributed to the report.
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