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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN urges 'maximum restraint' after blast hits Iran ship

Dujarric said the countries involved must "refrain from taking any escalatory actions" [AFP]

Date of publication: 8 April, 2021

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The UN called for "maximum restraint" in the Middle East after an explosion on an Iranian ship in the Red Sea.

The United Nations on Wednesday called for "maximum restraint" in the Middle East after an explosion on an Iranian ship in the Red Sea that reports suggested may have been carried out by Israel.

Though circumstances of the event remain unclear, the countries involved must "exercise maximum restraint and refrain from taking any escalatory actions," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

It is the "fourth such incident in the region in just over a month," he added.

Tehran had announced that the "Iranian commercial vessel" MV Saviz had been struck by the blast while off the coast of Djibouti on Tuesday morning.

Iran's Tasnim news agency reported that the Saviz had been damaged by "magnetic mines". 

It said the ship had been stationed in the Red Sea for several years "in support of Iranian commandos deployed to escort commercial vessels".

The New York Times cited a US official as saying Israel had informed Washington it had struck the ship in "retaliation for earlier Iranian strikes on Israeli vessels".

Since early March, Iran and Israel have accused each other of carrying out a number of attacks on each other's ships.

There was no immediate reaction from the Israeli authorities to the Times report.

The explosion comes at a sensitive time as US President Joe Biden attempts to revive a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran which was strongly opposed by Israel and abandoned by his predecessor Donald Trump in 2018.

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