But now a more familiar target has been accused: the US military and its hi-tech hardware and spying equipment. Rejecting suggestions that his employees may have committed a mass cull, the head of Iran’s state-run fisheries organisation, Sha’aban-Ali Nezami, has alleged that the dolphins were victims of experimental US surveillance techniques. He has also said they could have been killed by electro-magnetic waves from military vessels in the Gulf and Oman Sea, where the US and British navies conduct regular patrols.
However, Mr Nezami blamed more sinister factors, telling Iranian journalists: “As these dolphins are not among the species normally found in the surrounding Persian Gulf and Oman Sea, probably the Americans – for tracking purposes – have brought them to carry out laboratory works in the Gulf region. This group of dolphins have not been able to tolerate the tests. The likely reason for these deaths is water pollution, the spreading of electro-magnetic waves by military ships or a kind of virus disease.”
Mr. Nezami must have a serious jones to out-do Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, former “Information Minister” to Iraq, on the scale of most outrageous lying to the world press. Fisherman pounding on dolphins? That’s not good press for Iran and Nezami, therefore it must not have happened, and any other scapegoat will do. When Iran is involved, the scapegoat of choice would be Israel, but the USA will do almost as well.
Water pollution and viruses don’t generally leave bruises. While sound energy in the form of mid-range military sonar has been implicated in stranding events of beaked whales, “electro-magnetic” waves just sounds silly. Radio-frequency EM tends not to propagate well in water, and even light gets absorbed fairly quickly even when the water is clear, making depths below a couple hundred feet dark.
Fishermen, though, have been known to kill depredating marine mammals and then lie about it. That happens pretty much everywhere and all too commonly. That Iranian fishermen would be part of the club isn’t at all a surprise.