‘Warped priorities’ killed 19 Iranian sailors in missile accident

A view of warships during joint Iran-Russia-China naval drills in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman. (File/AFP)
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Updated 12 May 2020

‘Warped priorities’ killed 19 Iranian sailors in missile accident

  • The nave said the incident occurred during a naval exercise in the Gulf of Oman on Sunday

DUBAI: Warped priorities in Iran’s military policy contributed to the deaths of 19 sailors in a “friendly fire” incident in the Gulf of Oman, analysts told Arab News on Monday.

One Iranian warship accidentally struck another with a missile during an exercise on Sunday, Iran’s navy admitted.
The frigate Jamaran fired at a training target released by a support ship, the Konarak, but the support ship stayed too close to the target and was hit. Along with the 19 dead, 15 sailors were injured.
Dr. Theodore Karasik, a senior adviser to Gulf State Analytics in Washington, told Arab News it was important to note that the incident involved the regular Iranian Navy, and not naval forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“The IRGC is different in capability and capacity,” Karasik said. “This was a training exercise for the Iranian Navy, and the friendly fire attack is illustrative of training issues. It’s about manpower, training time and equipment.
“Instead of focusing on a capable military that can protect the Iranian state, the regime chooses to focus on militia activity, drones, and the development of ballistic and cruise missiles.”

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The bungled training exercises raised new questions about the readiness of Iranian armed forces.

Sunday’s incident took place at a time of heightened tensions between Iran and the US since 2018, when the US withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Iran, and Washington reimposed sanctions on Tehran.
Animosity deepened in early January when a US drone strike in Baghdad killed top Iranian warlord Qassem Soleimani. Iran retaliated on Jan. 8 by firing missiles at US military bases in Iraq. Later that day, IRGC forces shot down a Ukrainian airliner, killing all 176 people aboard, in what the military later admitted was a mistake.
Many of those killed aboard the airliner were Iranian and postings on social media on Monday drew comparisons between the two incidents.
“Until when does the Islamic Republic want to play with the lives of Iranians?” Sedighe Taheri wrote on Twitter.


Egypt sanitizes prisons, examines inmates in fight against coronavirus spread

Updated 8 min 36 sec ago

Egypt sanitizes prisons, examines inmates in fight against coronavirus spread

DUBAI: Egypt has sanitized prisons and carried out tests on prisoners across the country after banning visits to help curb the spread of coronavirus, local daily Egypt Today reported.
Masks have  also been given out to inmates and workers, and a higher number of sanitizers and detergents have been made available. The prisons have also been provided with infrared thermometer guns.
A total of 5,532 prisoners in the country were released on May 24, which was the first day of Eid Al-Fitr, as per a presidential pardon, the Ministry of Interior announced in a statement.
Egypt has recorded so far 26,384 coronavirus infected patients, of which 6,297 have recovered, and 1,005 people died.