Israeli has reportedly carried out an attack against the Iranian merchant vessel Saviz right in the midst of Iranians renewed negotiations with E3+2, aimed at provoking them and evoking a response. Is an all-out war on the horizon?
Not a day, not a single day has passed since Iran and E3+2 meeting in Vienna, Austria and the world is worried about the prospect of an all-out war between Iran and Israel in the Middle-East. You heard it right; Israel did attack an Iranian merchant vessel Saviz, “suspecting” its affiliation with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp and its potential function as a remote operating base for IRGC’s naval command might pose a threat to its security.
While being interviewed by the reporters, Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz refused to comment on the attack whilst saying that his country “must continue to defend itself”. For those familiar with Israel-Iran proxy war dynamics that was of course yet another confirmation by the highest-ranking military leader of Israel who effectively implied that the attack was indeed carried out by Israeli agents. According to the reports, Israelis managed to accomplish such a task by making use of limpet mines, a well-known equipment used by marines to damage the hull of maritime vessels.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh also confirmed that Saviz was indeed attacked on Tuesday around 6 AM while sticking to its route in the Red Sea. During his press meeting, Khatibzadeh specified: “This ship practically acted as a logistics station (technical support and logistics) of Iran in the Red Sea, and therefore the specifications and mission of this ship had previously been officially announced”. Though the damage to the vessel has been minimal, it is nonetheless a provoking action on the Israeli part.
Taking this incident into account along with whatever might have went on between E3+2 and Iran, might give us a better picture of how things are about to unfold in the coming months. Given the fact that Israelis went solo regarding their latest plan, keeping the whole operation hidden from the U.S. even, suggests that either the Biden’s administration is bent on reviving the deal or the Europeans weren’t swayed by their arguments. Whatever may be the case, it prompted Israel to act alone with the sole intention of evoking a response from Iranians and killing the efforts to revive the nuclear deal.
Interestingly enough, there have been no reactions whatsoever from Israelis regional partners such as Saudi Arabia, indicating that maybe even they weren’t informed of the decision. After all, Saudi Arabia has much more to lose in Persian Gulf than Israel which is miles away from it. Furthermore, given the new partnership between China and Iran, acting as an accomplice to Israelis might provoke the Chinese into seeking greater cooperation with Iran, potentially endangering even their deals concerning oil purchases.
Ever since a while ago, Israel and Iran have been engaged in sporadic maritime warfare against each other. Previously, the shadowy proxy war between Iran and Israel was only restricted to the buffer zones such as Lebanon and Syria but recently it has spilled into the Persian Gulf which is generally perceived as Iranians sphere of influence. A while ago, the Wall Street Journal reported that the IDF has at least conducted more than 12 separate attacks against Iranians ships carrying oil for Syria whilst Iran supposedly reciprocated by attacking flagged ships such as MV Helios Ray. With no clear intention in mind other than vexing each other out, it appears that both Iran and Israel hostilities would continue, if not escalate beyond control, for as long as the fate of JCPOA hangs in the balance. To prevent an undesirable outcome from happening decisions will have to be made, this time however the ball is in the court of world’s power, not the players, and we shall soon see how will they decide.