The Iranian navy last week announced that 19 sailors had been killed and 15 wounded in a “friendly fire” incident, when its support vessel Konarak was hit by a new anti-ship missile being tested by the Jamaran frigate during drills in the Gulf of Oman.
Iranian state TV said the incident took place off Bandar-e-Jask in southern Iran after the Konarak had towed a practice target to its destination but failed to move far enough away.
It is noteworthy that the Iranian leadership has remained silent about the number of fatalities and the reasons for the incident.
It has not released video footage to indicate how the fatal mistake happened, even though Iran usually documents its naval drills exhaustively, raising further suspicions about the reality of the incident.
A few months before this, in January of this year, Iranian forces shot down a Ukrainian jetliner shortly after it took off from Tehran, killing all 176 people on board.
In the three days following this incident, regime officials repeatedly denied any involvement, claiming that human error by the pilots or aviation personnel might have caused the plane to crash.
As evidence of the regime’s culpability mounted, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced that a missile had been fired mistakenly and hit the plane.
Video footage of the incident recorded by Iranian citizens and subsequently uploaded to social media demonstrated, however, that the plane had been hit by two missiles, rather than one, prompting the regime to admit that it had shot down the airliner.
Regime officials refused to hand over the black boxes from the destroyed plane.
After the Ukrainian jetliner was downed, the media in Iran blamed a lack of coordination between Iran’s air defense forces and the airport’s command center.
However, the media was not brave enough to put the regime in the dock and hold it accountable for the incident.