Iran previously described the Saviz as an aid in fighting piracy in the Red Sea and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a critical bottleneck in international shipping. In a statement attributed to Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh, the ship was referred to as a merchant ship.
“Fortunately, no casualties have been reported … and technical investigations are ongoing,” said Khatibzadeh. “Our country will take all necessary measures through international authorities.”
An anchor was quoted in a previous state TV statement a story from the New York Times, who quoted an anonymous US official who told the newspaper that Israel had informed America that it had carried out an attack on the ship Tuesday morning. Israeli officials declined to comment on the attack when it was reached by The Associated Press, as did Saviz’s owner.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz refused to say whether his country launched the attack, but described Iran and its regional allies as a major threat.
“Israel must continue to defend itself,” Gantz told journalists. “We will continue to act wherever we find an operational challenge and necessity.”
The semi-official Iranian news agency Tasnim, believed to be close to the Guard, reported that a limpets mine on Saviz’s torso caused the explosion. A limpet mine is a type of marine mine that is attached to the side of a ship, usually by a diver. It later explodes and can cause significant damage to a ship. Iran blamed no one for the attack, saying Iranian officials would likely offer more information in the coming days.
In a statement, the US military’s central command only said that it was aware of media reports of an incident involving the Saviz and that the US armed forces were not involved.
At the United Nations, Spokesman Stephane Dujarric expressed concern about the incident in Saviz and called on the parties concerned, including countries in the region, to behave extremely cautiously and not to take escalating measures and in particular to comply with their obligations under international law. ”
Also on Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani described the Vienna talks as a “success” while speaking to his cabinet.
“Today we heard a joint statement that all sides of the nuclear deal have come to the conclusion that there is no better solution than the deal,” he said.
A European diplomat with knowledge of the talks, who speaks openly about the closed meeting in Vienna on condition of anonymity, admitted that external events could affect the negotiations.
“We hope any action, whether by (nuclear deals) or outside parties, doesn’t undermine the momentum,” he said.