An Iranian warship in a Persian Gulf port appears to have sunk before ever even leaving dock.
Satellite imagery posted online purports to show the Talayieh on its side at a dry dock in Bandar Abbas, a port in southern Iran.
It comes after video surfaced online apparently showing the warship lying on its side in a partially flooded dock at the port, the Iranian Navy’s main base. It was not clear how the ship had toppled over.
It is understood the vessel was in the final stages of construction and fitting before its planned launch next year. The extent of the damage and how long it could push back the launch was not yet clear.
Little is known about the Talayieh, but The Drive reported it appeared to be a derivative of the Moudge class corvette design while Iranian media referred to it as an ‘intelligence reconnaissance’ ship.
Iran has allegedly been the target of at least three sabotage attacks by Israel on its nuclear sites in the past 18 months, leading to suspicions about the warship’s sinking.
Mossad spies recruited top Iranian scientists to blow up their own nuclear plant by ‘posing as dissidents’ and ‘smuggling explosives disguised as boxes of food’, according to the Jewish Chronicle.
There has also been a string of apparent accidents involving Iranian naval vessels after one of the navy’s largest warships caught fire and sunk in the Gulf of Oman in June 2021 and 19 servicemen died when a ship fired a missile on another during a training exercise in May 2020.
Planetscape satellite imagery purports to show the Talayieh on its side at a dry dock in Bandar Abbas, a port in southern Iran
Images surfaced online showing the warship lying on its side in a partially flooded dock at the port, the Iranian Navy’s main base. It was not clear how the ship had toppled over
It is understood the Talayieh (pictured) was in the final stages of construction and fitting ahead of its planned launch next year before the accident took place
The Planetscope satellite image, taken on December 4, was tweeted by Chris Biggers, Mission Applications Director at HawkEye 360, a company specialising in radio-frequency data analytics using a commercial satellite constellation.
It shows a ship on its side in the dock in Bandar Abbas in what appears to be the same location as where the Talayieh was pictured by Iranian media in August.
The ship was filmed on its side in the dock on Sunday apparently just after it had tipped over and people could be seen hanging from the railings. At least one person died in the accident, according to reports on social media.
State media reported the ship would specialise in electronic warfare including identifying enemy targets, creating false targets and covering for other Iranian ships.
It appears to be the latest in a string of accidents involving Iranian naval vessels. In June, one of Iran’s largest naval vessels caught fire and sunk in the Gulf of Oman.
The Kharg, a 650ft cargo vessel designed to resupply ships at sea, caught fire after a fault ‘in one of its systems’ during a training exercise.
All 400 crew and students on board the vessel – built in Britain in 1977 – were evacuated with only minor injuries, the Iranian military said, before firefighters tried to tackle the blaze.
They were unable to save the ship which sank the following morning near the port of Jask ‘after 20 hours of dedicated efforts to save it’, Iranian officials said.
The Kharg, an Iranian navy support vessel and one of the force’s largest ships, sank in June near the port of Jask after burning for more than 20 hours overnight
Iran at the time said the fire broke out ‘in one of the systems’ of the ship, without elaborating. It comes amid a series of attacks that Iran and Israel blame on one-another
Meanwhile in May 2020, 19 servicemen died and 15 were injured when an Iranian warship accidentally opened fire on one of its own support vessels during a training exercise in the Gulf of Oman
The Jamaran, a frigate, had been attempting to hit a target with one of its Noor cruise missiles when it accidentally struck a support ship named Konarak instead.
The Konarak had been placing targets for the Janaran to hit but remained too close to one of them causing the missile to lock on to it by mistake, state-run media said.
Also in 2018, an Iranian navy destroyer sank in the Caspian Sea.
In 2019, a series of explosions and fires on oil tankers linked both Iran and Saudi Arabia around the Arabian Peninsula brought the two sides close to war.
Iran said the Konarak (pictured) had been towing a target into place for the Jamaran to fire at, but remained too close afterwards – causing the missile to lock on to it by mistake
Mossad spies recruited top Iranian scientists to blow up their own nuclear plant by ‘posing as dissidents’ and ‘smuggling explosives disguised as boxes of food’
Mossad spies recruited top Iranian scientists to blow up their own nuclear plant by ‘posing as dissidents’ and ‘smuggling explosives disguised as boxes of food’, according to reports.
Explosives were apparently smuggled inside on food lorries and dropped into the plant via drones before being picked up by scientists.
The revelation is allegedly one of three Mossad-linked act of sabotages dating back to July 2020, when the Natanz facility was first hit by explosives.
A third operation also reportedly took place in June when a bombing was carried out by a quadcopter drone on the Iran Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA).
It comes as Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett calls for an ‘immediate cessation’ of resumed nuclear talks between Iran and major powers in Vienna, accusing the Islamic republic of ‘nuclear blackmail’.
A portrait of a man identified as Reza Karimi, who Iran named as a suspect over the incident which damaged a centrifuge hall at the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility on April 11
Israeli agents drafted up to 10 scientists to destroy 90 per cent of the centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear facility (pictured in 2007), according to reports
Over an 11-month period, Mossad agents are said to have concealed explosives in Natanz centrifuge hall as far back as 2019 before activating them a year later.
Iran previously named a suspect in the April 11 attack as Reza Karimi, saying he had fled the country ‘hours before’ the sabotage happened.
Israeli spies also allegedly used a motorcycle-sized quadcopter to set off missiles at the TESA site in Karaj after smuggling it into the country one piece at a time.
Meanwhile, in a phone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday, Israeli PM Bennett called instead for ‘concrete measures’ to be taken against Iran.
Bennett has been a consistent opponent of the 2015 agreement the powers have been seeking to revive.
He said ‘Iran was carrying out ‘nuclear blackmail’ as a negotiation tactic and that this must be met with an immediate cessation of negotiations and by concrete steps taken by the major powers,’ a statement from his office said.
It said Blinken had updated Bennett on what had been happening in the talks since their resumption after a five-month hiatus.
The Israeli leader expressed concern about a new report from the UN nuclear watchdog issued during the talks which he said showed Iran had ‘started the process of enriching uranium to the level of 20 percent purity with advanced centrifuges at its Fordo underground facility’.
Various centrifuge machines line the hall damaged on April 11 at the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility
Video previously released by the Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting shows various centrifuge machines line the hall damaged on April 11 at the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility
A year after then US president Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear agreement in 2018 and started imposing sweeping sanctions, Iran began a gradual suspension of its undertakings in the deal.
The countermeasures have seen Iran enrich uranium in greater quantities and to higher levels of purity than it had agreed, something Western governments are eager to end as quickly as possible.
In April Iran said it would start enriching uranium up to 60 per cent after the attack on its Natanz plant which it blamed on Israel.
The chief of Israel’s Mossad external intelligence agency, David Barnea, said on Thursday at an internal ceremony in Jerusalem that a ‘bad’ Iran deal was ‘intolerable.’
He said: ‘It’s clear there is no need for uranium to be enriched to 60 per cent for civilian purposes.
It comes as Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (pictured on November 29) calls for an ‘immediate cessation’ of resumed nuclear talks between Iran and major powers in Vienna, accusing the Islamic republic of ‘nuclear blackmail’
‘There is no need for three enrichment sites and there is no need for thousands of active centrifuges unless there is an intention to develop a nuclear weapon.
‘A bad deal, which I hope they do not reach, is intolerable from our perspective.’
Blinken, commenting in Stockholm after his call with Bennett, said Iran can’t ‘sustain the status quo of building their nuclear programme while dragging their feet on talks. That… will not happen.’
Iran insists the absolute priority is the lifting of all US sanctions imposed after Trump’s abandonment of the deal.
The remaining parties to the 2015 agreement – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – have been participating directly in the Vienna talks.
At Iran’s insistence, the United States is doing so only indirectly.