Iranian vessel allegedly attacked in Red Sea

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TEHRAN

An Iranian-flagged vessel has allegedly come under attack in the Red Sea off the coast of Eritrea, with speculation rife that Israel could be behind the incident.

The attack was reported late on Tuesday, hours after Iran held its first round of talks with Western powers in Vienna in a bid to salvage the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Early reports suggest that the intelligence reconnaissance vessel Saviz, linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), was targeted by magnetic mines, although officials in Tehran are yet to comment on the incident.

The incident reportedly took place near Yemen, fueling speculation that the vessel could have been used to support Houthi rebels in the war-ravaged country.

Reports in Iranian media claim that the incident was triggered by the explosion of limpet mines attached to the ship, which had been stationed in the Red Sea for several years “assisting Iranian naval forces” sent on commercial vessel escort missions.

Tensions between Iran and its long-time adversary Israel have escalated in recent months, especially after the new administration of President Joe Biden in Washington expressed willingness to revive diplomacy with Tehran.

These heightened further after Iran accused Israel of assassinating its top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, after which both sides intensified activities in regional waters.

The two sides have on many occasions in the recent past accused each other of attacks on vessels in the region.

There have so far been no official statements on the latest incident from Tel Aviv, either.

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