DUBAI (Dispatches) — An Iranian ship has been attacked in the Red Sea off Yemen, Tehran acknowledged Wednesday.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry confirmed the attack on the MV Saviz. The assault came as Iran and other countries sat down in Vienna for the first talks about the U.S. removal of sanctions, showing there were efforts outside the negotiations to derail the process.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh described the ship as a commercial vessel.
"Fortunately, no casualties were reported ... and technical investigations are underway,” Khatibzadeh said. "Our country will take all necessary measures through international authorities.”
In an earlier state TV statement, an anchor cited a New York Times story, which quoted an anonymous U.S. official telling the newspaper that the occupying regime of Israel informed America it carried out an attack Tuesday morning on the vessel. The Associated Press said Zionist officials declined to comment about the assault when reached by the news agency.
Zionist war minister Benny Gantz, while refusing to say if the occupying regime launched the attack, described Iran and its regional allies as a major threat.
"Any place we find an operational challenge and necessity, we will continue to act,” Gantz told journalists.
Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported that a limpet mine planted on Saviz’s hull caused the blast. A limpet mine is a type of naval mine that is attached to the side of a ship, usually by a diver. It later explodes, and can significantly damage a vessel. Iran did not blame anyone for the attack and said Iranian officials likely would offer more information in the coming days.
In a statement, the U.S. military’s Central Command only said it was aware of media reports of an incident involving the Saviz and that U.S. forces were not involved.
A European diplomat with knowledge of the talks, speaking on condition of anonymity to
frankly discuss the closed-door meeting in Vienna, acknowledged outside events could affect the negotiations.
"We hope that every action, whether it comes from (nuclear deal) parties or external parties, won’t undermine the dynamic,” he said.
Talks between working groups discussing proposals on American sanctions started Tuesday night and continued Wednesday, even after Iran acknowledged the attack. Participants said the Saviz attack had no immediate effect on the meetings.