With friends like the Iranian Navy, who needs enemies? Iran is proving to the world just how dangerous they are. Their next little mishap could accidentally start a war at any moment. For practice, they sunk one of their own warships, the Konarak. The New York Times reports that 19 Iranian sailors have died, 15 were injured and nearly 2 dozen more are missing, possibly along with four cruise missiles.
A costly mishap
Iranian State TV started reporting on Sunday that one of their warships was accidentally sunk by their own missile during some training exercises in the Gulf of Oman, near Bandar-e Jask. It was a costly mishap in terms of lives as well as hardware. The light logistical support ship was originally built by the Netherlands and Iran bought it back before the Islamic revolution in 1979. It’s one of their Hendijan-class vessel’s typically armed with four cruise missiles.
“The vessel was hit after moving a practice target to its destination and not creating enough distance between itself and the target,” state television declared. At the time, only one death had been confirmed. It seems that someone on the Moudge-class frigate “Jamaran” pulled the trigger just a touch early, Tasnim reports. It was not immediately clear whether it was human error or possibly faulty equipment.
What should have been a routine a missile test went horribly wrong when “friendly fire” in the form of “a target-seeking missile” slammed into the stern of the Konarak instead of “target” she had just towed out. “The scope of the incident is under investigation by experts,” Iran’s Navy states. Iran regularly conducts drills in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman. Not only do they get to test the equipment coming off the assembly lines, they show off their “military might as tensions between Washington and Tehran escalate and the threat of military conflict looms.” Zerohedge notes. “This accident is very sad for all of us,” a senior military official tweeted, without mentioning how sad it must be for the families of the crew.
This isn’t the first deadly incident
The loss of the Konarak was a significant blow to Iran’s navy “and its ambitions to project itself as a power player in the Persian Gulf” but will “not have a significant impact on the capabilities of the Iran Navy,” one analyst explains. Still, military pundits around the globe warn “the next Middle Eastern war could be just one ‘human error’ away.” According to Fabian Hinz, who happens to be an expert on Iran’s military, “This really showed that the situation with Iran is still dangerous, because accidents and miscalculations can happen. It doesn’t give you confidence about the stability of the Persian Gulf.”
Back in January they had a similar mishap. They accidentally shot down a passenger jet, “filled with young Iranian students,” killing all 176 people on board. They were a little trigger happy because they were expecting the United States to launch a retaliatory strike after they fired “a barrage of missiles at U.S. troops stationed in Iraq.”
As Zerohedge writes, “the fact that the regime ineptly lied about the shoot-down, before finally coming clean in the face of overwhelming evidence, only compounded the embarrassment.” One of these days they are likely to accidentally start a nuclear war, as critics of the hard-line government are quick to point out. “Firing at your own targets, whether military or civil, in such a short space of time is not human error. It’s a catastrophic failure of management and command,” tweeted Maziar Khosravi, an Iranian journalist.