Konarak naval vessel still burning after being towed to port. May 11, 2020. (Supplied)

May 13, 2020

A website affiliated with Iran’s army released a video Monday evening acknowledging that a missile hit one of its navy ships on Sunday in a friendly-fire incident that killed 19 sailors and injured 15.

The video published by Aja website says that during naval drills the small support vessel Konarak was tasked with placing targets for practice. While performing its duty the Jamaran frigate fired a missile that hit the Konarak, which caught fire but is now towed to a port.

The video explains that the missile homing device was what malfunctioned and wrongly guided the warhead toward the support vessel. Previously, Iranian television had attributed the incident to the support ship staying too close to the designated target.

However, the army video at the end mentions that the incident could also be the result of “electronic warfare by the enemy”. The label enemy usually means the United States, but the video does not present any evidence to back its allegation.

The Islamic Republic often blames “enemies” for its misfortunes or shortcomings. At the onset of the coronavirus crisis, senior officials including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei hinted that “the enemy” had designed the deadly virus specifically to target Iranians.

A former naval officer also wrote in Iran’s Arman newspaper that according to his information Konarak entered the targeting area without emitting any signal.

Konarak was manufactured by Holland and purchased by the Imperial government before the 1979 revolution. It usually has a crew of 20 and it is not clear why it was carrying at least 34 sailors.

RFE-RL

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.