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The Spice must flow!

Iran Crisis - April

An Iranian ship long anchored off Yemen and used by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has reportedly been damaged by an explosion in the Red Sea. The hard-line Tasnim news agency, which is affiliated with the IRGC, reported late on April 6 that the vessel, a cargo-category ship identified as Iran Saviz or MV Saviz, was targeted on April 6 by a mine that was attached to it. It said the ship "has been stationed in the Red Sea for the past few years to support Iranian commandos sent on commercial vessel [anti-piracy] escort missions." A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry on April 7 confirmed what it called an "attack" on the Saviz. "The explosion occurred on Tuesday morning near the Djibouti coast and caused minor damage with no casualties. The vessel was a civilian ship stationed there to secure the region against pirates," Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said. The New York Times cited IRGC-linked social-media accounts alleging that Israel had carried out the attack. The newspaper noted that Israel had not confirmed that information. But it quoted an unidentified U.S. official as saying that Israel had informed the United States of its role after the early morning attack on April 6. Iran vowed 12 April 2021 to take "revenge" for an act of sabotage at its main Natanz nuclear site that it blames on its archenemy Israel, an incident that could overshadow diplomatic efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal abandoned by former U.S. President Donald Trump. Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said an act of "nuclear terrorism" caused a power failure at the Natanz nuclear facility on April 11, a day after new uranium-enrichment equipment was unveiled at the site, south of Tehran. The underground Natanz site is key to Iran's enrichment program and monitored by inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog.

Multiple Israeli media outlets have quoted unnamed intelligence sources as saying that the country's Mossad spy service had carried out a successful sabotage operation at the Natanz site, potentially setting back enrichment work there by months. The New York Times, citing American and Israeli intelligence officials, reported Israel had a role in what it described as a "large explosion" at Natanz that destroyed an internal power system that supplies underground centrifuges that enrich uranium.

The Israeli navy was on high alert 13 April 2021 after an Israel-owned freight ship was struck by an Iranian missile in the Arabian Sea, according to an Al Arabiya correspondent. Two maritime security sources told Reuters that an Israeli ship was hit near the United Arab Emirates’ Fujairah port resulting in an explosion but that there were no casualties. Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen television channel, citing sources, identified the vessel as the Hyperion Ray. The ship is the second owned by the same company to be targeted after an attack on the Helios Ray in February. An American warship fired warning shots when vessels of Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard came too close to a patrol in the Persian Gulf, the US Navy said 28 April 2021. The Navy released black-and-white footage of the encounter Monday night in international waters of the northern reaches of the Persian Gulf. In it, lights can be seen in the distance and what appears to be a single gunshot can be heard, with a tracer round racing across the top of the water.

Iran did not immediately acknowledge the incident. The Navy said the USS Firebolt fired the warning shots after three fast-attack Guard vessels came within 68 yards (62 meters) of it and the US Coast Guard patrol boat USCGC Baranoff. “The US crews issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio and loud-hailer devices, but the (Guard) vessels continued their close-range maneuvers,” said Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the Mideast-based 5th Fleet. “The crew of Firebolt then fired warning shots, and the (Guard) vessels moved away to a safe distance from the US vessels.”

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Page last modified: 12-05-2021 10:16:52 ZULU