A technical error is behind an incident in which a missile fired from an Iranian naval vessel hit another Iranian vessel, killing 19 soldiers and injuring 15 others, according to Radio Farda.
A website affiliated with the Iranian Army released the information in a video report on Monday, saying that a missile homing device malfunctioned and mistakenly guided the missile toward the Konarak support vessel that had been placing targets for the exercise.
Iranian television had reported earlier that the Konarak vessel had stayed to close to the target after placing it.
The video report on Monday added that it's possible that the technical error was caused by "electronic warfare by the enemy" without specifying a possible source, according to Radio Farda. No evidence was provided for the claim and "the enemy" is often blamed by Iran for a variety of shortcomings or issues.
On Sunday, Mohammad Rastad, Managing Director of the Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO), told Iran’s ILNA news agency that a cyber attack managed to damage a number of private systems at the Shahid Rajaei port near Bandar Abbas and the Strait of Hormuz in recent days.
Rastad stressed that operations had not been disrupted by the attack, despite earlier reports to the contrary and confirmed that the attack was carried out by a foreign entity, according to the Fars News Agency.
In statements issued since the deadly naval incident, Iranian officials have continued to refer to the deadly incident as an "accident," without providing much further information.
A spokesman for the Iranian Army denied reports on Wednesday that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps had shot the Iranian Navy's Konarak vessel on Sunday, calling the reports "complete nonsense."
General Shahin Taqikhani dismissed "rumors" about the incident, calling them an attempt to "create a rift" between the IRGC, army and Defense Ministry, according to the IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News Agency.
"Some of these statements are so rudimentary that they should not be considered at all," said Taqikhani, adding that the statements are being "designed and politicized by the opposition" and encouraged by "dissident and foreign media."
The army spokesman called on Iranians to get information and news from "official and legal information centers," stressing a need to be careful in regards to such issues.
IRANIAN PRESIDENT Hassan Rouhani stated on Wednesday that the cause of the accident would "be clear to the people in the future," according to Iranian media.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei asked the relevant officials to investigate the incident on Tuesday to "identify those who are potentially at fault, and take all necessary measures to prevent such damaging, tragic incidents from happening again."
Nineteen Iranians were killed and 15 others were injured after an Iranian naval vessel was reportedly hit by friendly fire during a naval exercise on Sunday.
The IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News Agency reported that the “accident” involving the Konarak support vessel took place in the waters off Jask Port in the Gulf of Oman.
Initial reports from Iran stated that the Konarak was “sunk” by a missile fired by Iran's Jamaran frigate resulting in a number of seamen being killed or missing, according to Radio Farda. Some reports indicated dozens of injuries and deaths, with about 40 military personnel estimated to have been on board at the time.
Some reports indicated that the Konarak had brought a target to the area for the test launch of a cruise missile, but was not completely out of the way before the missile was fired.
The Konarak was considered a light support vessel and can carry dozens of crew, but it is unclear how many personnel were on board. The Jamaran, Iran’s first domestically built destroyer, carries about 120 personnel and is armed with surface-to-air missiles, torpedoes and modern naval cannons, according to Iran’s Press TV. It has been armed with the Noor surface-to-surface cruise missile as well.
The Iranian navy regularly conducts military exercises in the Gulf of Oman.