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Sabotage In Deadly Incident Near Strait Of Hormuz Ruled Out

Iran -- According to unverified reports, An Iranian destroyer Jamaran has opened fire on one of its own warships Konarak (In the photo) by accident, causing 'dozens of casualties' in the Sea of Oman.

The military prosecutor of Tehran province, Gholam Abbas Torki, says that there was no sabotage in the May 2020 accident in which a rocket hit the Konarak support vessel during a naval exercise in waters near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, killing 19 sailors and wounding 15 others.

Speaking on Saturday, Torki did not elaborate on the charges or the "field conditions" that led to the deadly incident, but said that "any sabotage or involvement of security forces in the incident has been ruled out."

The boat typically carried a crew of 20, and authorities did not explain why it had 34 people aboard when the missile struck. The army identified the victims as officers and enlisted men, including a combat diver.

Local news outlets reported that the Konarak was hit by a "new anti-ship missile" being tested by the frigate Jamaran during an exercise and that the Konarak had been laying targets in the water and stayed too close to one.

The navy said the Konarak was towed ashore and that an investigation had begun.

As Torki said on Saturday, "The frigate's failure to comply with some notification measures and safety tips and field conditions" was the leading cause of the accident.

According to a report released to the media by the Judiciary of the Armed Forces of Iran on Saturday, Torki also announced the summoning of "unnamed" individuals as "defendants."

Immediately after the incident, the U.S. military described the missile fired from Jamaran as an anti-missile cruise missile, and criticized the maneuvering site, saying the missile was fired in an area where many international ships were sailing.

Torki's words echoed statements made immediately after the incident, including a video report by the website of Aja (the Persian acronym for the Iranian army) said that "missile technical defect" or "electronic warfare" was the cause of the deadly incident.

Earlier, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for a "proper clarification" of the dimensions of the incident and the "identification of possible culprits."

Referring to Khamenei's order, Torki added that "the General Staff of the Armed Forces, the Navy of the Army and the Ministry of Defense" have formed a committee to investigate the case and find out if there was "negligence and faults" involved.

The bungled naval exercise raised new questions about the readiness of Iran's armed forces amid heightened tensions with the U.S., just months after they accidentally shot down a Ukrainian jetliner near Tehran in January 2020, killing 176 passengers.

The Dutch-made, 47-meter (155-foot) Konarak was bought by Iran's pro-West monarch Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi before his downfall and establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979.