The semi-official Iranian news agency Tasnim said the Saviz ship was targeted by limpet mines.
The Iranian vessel, Saviz, was targeted by limpet mines in the Red Sea, the semi-official news agency Tasnim reported on Tuesday, citing information obtained by its reporter.
“The vessel Iran Saviz has been stationed in the Red Sea for the past few years to support Iranian commandos sent on commercial vessel (anti-piracy) escort missions,” Tasnim reported.
Al Arabiya TV cited unnamed sources as saying the vessel was attacked off the coast of Eritrea and was affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, but provided no evidence to support the assertion.
There was no immediate official Iranian reaction to the incident.
It was the latest in a reported series of attacks on Israeli and Iranian-owned ships since late February in which the two arch-enemies accused each other of responsibility.
The incidents have occurred since US President Joe Biden took office in January with a commitment to rejoin world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran – abandoned by his predecessor Donald Trump in a move welcomed by Israel – if Tehran returns to full compliance with the deal.
Iran and the United States on Tuesday launched indirect talks in Vienna that included the other powers on ways to revive the deal. Both Iran and the US called the talks “constructive”.
Israeli officials declined to comment on Tuesday’s reported attack on the Iranian ship.
Earlier in the day, before news broke about the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in comments to lawmakers of his right-wing Likud party, said there should be no return to the “dangerous” nuclear accord.
“In parallel we must continue to fend off Iranian belligerence in our region,” he added.
And this threat is no theoretical matter. I’m not uttering it rhetorically. We must take action in the face of the fanatical regime in Iran, which simply threatens to wipe us off the face of the Earth.”
The Biden administration is not anticipating any changes on Iran policy amid the negotiations over reinstating the nuclear deal, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.
There have been three other reported attacks on Iranian or Israeli-owned ships since February 25.
On March 25 a cargo ship owned by an Israeli company was damaged by a missile in the Arabian Sea in what was suspected to be an Iranian attack, according to a senior Israeli security official. The ship was able to continue its journey, he said.
Two weeks previously, Iranian state media quoted an Iranian investigator as saying Israel was highly likely to have been behind an explosion that caused a small fire on an Iranian container ship in the Mediterranean.
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz declined to comment directly at the time but said Iran regularly sent weapons to its proxies in the region.
On February 26, Netanyahu blamed Iran for an explosion on board an Israeli-owned vehicle-carrier ship in the Gulf of Oman. A US official said the blast ripped holes in both sides of its hull and an Israeli official said limpet mines were used. Iran denied responsibility.