An Iranian warship stationed in the Red Sea was damaged by an apparent Israeli landmine attack on Tuesday. This is an escalation of the murky naval battle that has characterized the exchanges between the two opponents in recent years.
The Iranian media claimed that the ship was damaged because it reported progress on the first day of resuming U.S. participation in the negotiations on the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the world’s major powers. Israel views Iran as its most powerful enemy and strongly opposes the resumption of the agreement, which was abandoned by the Trump administration three years ago.
Although the Saviz is technically classified as a cargo ship, it is the first ship deployed for military purposes. The ship was allegedly attacked during the Israeli-Iranian conflict.
A social media account of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps stated that the ship has been deployed in the Red Sea for some time to combat piracy. Tasnim News Agency (Revolutionary Guard media) stated that the Saviz was damaged by a mine attached to the ship.
As of Tuesday night, Iranian officials had not confirmed the attack, but multiple Telegram social media channels operated by members of the Revolutionary Guards blamed Israel for the explosion.
As of Tuesday night, Israeli officials have not commented. From a policy perspective, they rarely confirm or deny responsibility for actions taken against Iran. But an American official said that the Israelis had notified the United States that its forces attacked the ship at 7:30 am local time.
The official, who shared private intelligence communications on condition of anonymity, said that the Israelis described the attack as retaliation for Iran’s early strikes against Israeli ships, and Saweiz was damaged below the waterline. The exact location of the ship in the Red Sea is currently unclear.
The skirmish has been going on for two years, but the goals involved were different before. Since 2019, Israel has attacked merchant ships carrying Iranian oil and weapons that cross the eastern Mediterranean and Red Seas of Iran. This is a new maritime front in the regional shadow war, which was previously launched by land and air.
U.S. officials said the attack may be delayed so that the U.S. aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower in the area could maintain a certain distance from the Sawyzi. The official said that Eisenhower was about 200 miles away when the Saviz was hit.
The U.S. Naval Research Institute issued a report in October 2020 stating that the Saviz was a secret warship of the Revolutionary Guard. The report stated that there were people in uniform on the ship, and the ship used by the Revolutionary Guards was on the deck of the ship, and the hull resembled the Boston whaling ship.
Iran carried out its own secret attack. Israeli officials said the last one was reported on March 25, when an Israeli-owned container ship Lori was hit by an Iranian missile in the Arabian Sea. There were no reports of casualties or major losses.
Israel’s campaign is Israel’s effort to contain Iran’s military influence in the Middle East and part of its efforts to circumvent US sanctions on Iran’s oil industry.