Iran previously described Saviz as an aid to “anti-piracy” efforts in the Red Sea and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a crucial bottleneck in international shipping. A statement attributed to Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh described the ship as a commercial vessel.
“Fortunately, no victims have been reported … and technical investigations are ongoing,” said Khatibzadeh. “Our country will take all necessary measures through international authorities.”
In an earlier statement to state television, an anchor quoted a story from the New York Times, which quoted an anonymous US official telling the newspaper that Israel informed the United States that it carried out an attack on the ship Tuesday morning. Israeli officials declined to comment on the attack when contacted by The Associated Press, as did Saviz’s owner.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, while refusing to say whether his country launched the attack, described Iran and its regional allies as a major threat.
“Israel must continue to defend itself,” Gantz told reporters. “Wherever we encounter an operational challenge and need, we will continue to act.”
Iran’s semi-official news agency Tasnim, believed to be close to the Guard, reported that a limpet mine planted in Saviz’s hull caused the explosion. A limpet mine is a type of naval mine that is attached to the side of a ship, usually by a diver. Later, it explodes and can significantly damage a vessel. Iran did not blame anyone for the attack and said Iranian officials are likely to offer more information in the coming days.
In a statement, the U.S. Armed Forces Central Command just said it was aware of media reports of an incident involving Saviz and that US forces were not involved.
At the United Nations, spokesman Stephane Dujarric expressed concern about the Saviz incident and urged “stakeholders, including countries in the region, to exercise maximum restraint and to refrain from taking escalation measures and, in particular, to respect obligations under international law. “
Also on Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the Vienna talks “successful” while speaking to his office.
“Today, a unified statement is being heard that all sides of the nuclear agreement have concluded that there is no better solution than the agreement,” he said.
A European diplomat with knowledge of the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity to frankly discuss the meeting behind closed doors in Vienna, acknowledged that external events could affect the negotiations.
“We hope that every action, whether by parties (of the nuclear agreement) or external parties, does not harm the dynamics,” he said.