Home >News >World >Iranian ship attacked in Red Sea as nuclear talks begin

An Iranian-flagged vessel was hit with mines in the Red Sea, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, on the same day that Tehran and world powers including the U.S. met in Austria for nuclear talks.

The New York Times reported that Israel attacked the ship.

The Saviz vessel has been based in the area for several years, according to Tasnim, and often deploys Iranian commando boats that are used to escort commercial vessels. It was in the waterway on Tuesday when the limpet mines exploded, the report said, without saying where it got the information.

Iranian officials haven’t yet acknowledged the incident, Tasnim added. It was in the southern part of the Red Sea, off the coast of Eritrea, according to tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.

The attack came as Iranian officials gathered in Vienna to negotiate the restoration of a 2015 deal that was designed to curb Iran’s nuclear activities. Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from that accord in 2018 deepened tensions in the Middle East and was followed by an increase in attacks on vessels often blamed on Iran.

Israel notified the U.S. that its forces had struck the Saviz at about 7:30 a.m. local time, the New York Times reported, citing an unidentified American official. The Israeli government opposes the 2015 nuclear accord and doesn’t want the U.S. to abandon sanctions on the Islamic Republic without a new deal that addresses Tehran’s ballistic missile program and regional proxy forces.

Tuesday’s incident follows several attacks involving Iranian and Israeli vessels over the past month. On March 25, Israel’s Channel 12 reported that an Israeli-registered ship was hit by an Iranian missile in the Arabian Sea. On March 15, Iran blamed Israel for a blast on a container ship in the Mediterranean Sea.

Iran Blames Israel for Blast on Container Ship in Mediterranean

U.S. Central Command, which maintains forces in the area, was not involved, Erin Dorrance, deputy chief of media operations, said in a phone call.

Munro Anderson, a partner for security company Dryad Global, said the incident could have been a response to last month’s attack on the Israeli vessel, MV Lori.

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