An Iranian military vessel stationed in the Red Sea was damaged by an apparent Israeli mine attack on Tuesday in an escalation of the shadowy naval skirmishing that has characterized the two adversaries’ exchanges in recent years.
The damage to the vessel, which Iranian media identified as the Saviz, came as progress was reported on the first day of talks to revive American participation in the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and major world powers. Israel, which regards Iran as its most potent foe, strongly opposes a restoration of that agreement, which was abandoned by the Trump administration three years ago.
Several Iranian news outlets showed images of flames and smoke billowing from a stricken vessel in the Red Sea, but the full extent of the damage or any casualties was unclear.
The Saviz, though technically classified as a cargo ship, was the first vessel deployed for military use that is known to have been attacked in the Israeli-Iranian skirmishes.
a regional shadow war that had previously played out by land and air.
published a report in October 2020 that asserted the Saviz was a covert military ship operated by the Revolutionary Guards. The report said uniformed men were present onboard and a boat type used by the Revolutionary Guards, with a hull similar to a Boston Whaler, was on the ship’s deck.
Iran has engaged in its own clandestine attacks. The last one was reported March 25, when an Israeli-owned container ship, the Lori, was hit by an Iranian missile in the Arabian Sea, an Israeli official said. No casualties or significant damage were reported.
The Israeli campaign is part of Israel’s effort to curb Iran’s military influence in the Middle East and stymie Iranian efforts to circumvent American sanctions on its oil industry.