An Iranian military vessel was reportedly struck and sunk by a friendly fire missile Sunday, killing at least 19 Iranian sailors and wounding 15 others.
The incident, which Iranian media are characterizing as accidental, occurred during a training exercise in the Gulf of Oman, the Jerusalem Post reported. During the exercise, the frigate Jamaran reportedly opened fire on the missile boat Konarak, which had an estimated 40 military personnel on board at the time.
"The scope of the incident is under investigation by experts," Iran's Navy said in a statement, according to the New York Times.
The Times report added that the apparent mistake has drawn criticism on social media, especially due to its close proximity of another catastrophic mistake by the Iranian military — the accidental shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger jet in January, killing all 176 passengers onboard.
"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," Maziar Khosravi, a pro-reform journalist, tweeted, according to the Times.
The Iranian military regularly conducts training exercises in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, often in order to demonstrate its military might to the United States amid rising tensions between the two countries.
Last month — after Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps vessels swarmed U.S. ships in international waters — President Donald Trump instructed the U.S. Navy to "shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats" that harass American ships at sea.
I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1587557285.0
In response, IRGC commander in chief Major-General Hossein Salami ordered the destruction of any American war ships that threaten Iran.
"I have ordered our naval forces to destroy any American naval force in the Persian Gulf that threatens the security of Iran's military or non-military ships," Salami said.