An Iranian vessel named Saviz was attacked in the Red Sea by limpet mines on Tuesday, April 6, according to Iran’s Tasnim news agency. According to the agency, the hull of the ship was slightly damaged in the attack.
The attack came on the day when the joint commission meeting of the signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was ongoing in Vienna to work out a way for the US to rejoin the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal.
The representatives of the remaining signatories of the deal – China, Russia, Germany, UK and France – met with Iran first, and will later talk to US representatives. The Iranians have demanded that the US immediately withdraw all sanctions if it wants to rejoin the deal. Iran has asserted that it will go back to full compliance under the deal only after the US heeds this demand.
According to Tasnim, the Saviz has been cruising in the Red Sea for a couple of years, providing logistical support to Iranian commandos deployed in the region and protection to Iranian trading vessels from attacks in the region.
Though neither Iran nor Israel has issued any official comment yet, Israeli aggression against Iranian ships in the region is a well-known fact.
Washington Post reported last month that Israel has attacked at least a dozen vehicles in the region. Israel cites Iranian supply of oil to Syria as the main reason for its aggression.
Tuesday’s attack was the second such attack in the region in less than a month. On March 12, an Iranian container ship, Shahre Kord, was damaged in an explosion in the Mediterranean Sea. Iranian investigators later claimed that there was a high likelihood of Israel being behind the attack.
Israel views Iran as the main contender to its hegemony in the region and wants to keep Iranian influence from rising, particularly in Syria and Yemen. Israel had also opposed the US signing the JCPOA. It had supported Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the deal in 2018 and the subsequent US sanctions against Iran.
Israel has never owned up responsibility for its attacks. However, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has often championed an aggressive policy towards Iran. It has upped the ante against Joe Biden administration’s attempts to rejoin the nuclear deal.
According to Al-Jazeera, just before the news of the attack broke out, Netanyahu had stated that there should be no return to the “dangerous” nuclear deal, saying “we must continue to fend off Iranian belligerence in our region.”