Iranians Again Deploy Mock US Aircraft Carrier to Strategic Strait
Iran has towed a mock US aircraft carrier to the Strait of Hormuz, indicating a naval drill might be in the offing in the strategic waterway. Satellite photos released on Monday show the unpowered vessel – essentially an elaborate barge – in the strait, apparently at anchor. Five years ago, Iranian naval forces blasted a mock US carrier during exercises, using live ammunition and ordnance. It is unclear whether the mockup appearing in the strait over the weekend is the same vessel after repairs and refurbishment. Built to about two-thirds the scale of American Nimitz-class carriers, the vessel features dummy aircraft on its deck that resemble US naval fighters. About one-fifth of the world’s oil supplies pass through the Strait of Hormuz, where Iran has commandeered or otherwise harassed commercial tankers over the years before letting them go. US carriers are in the region as part of an American-led multinational force tasked with maintaining free lanes of navigation through the strait and surrounding waters. US-Iran tensions have been high in recent months over such activity, as well as tit-for-tat attacks on each other’s forces that in January left a senior Iranian general dead from an American drone strike.