A replica of a US aircraft carrier spotted near the coast of
Iran is nothing more sinister than a movie set, Iranian media
The New York Times, quoting US intelligence, said last week
that the Iranians were building a mock-up of a US
nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, possibly so they could then
blow it up for propaganda purposes.
Satellite photos showed what looked like one of the US Navy's
Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, complete with planes, rising
from Iran's Gachin shipyard, near the port of Bandar Abbas.
Iranian newspapers said it was "part of the decor" of a movie
being made by Iranian director Nader Talebzadeh on the 1988
shooting down of an Iran Air civilian plane by the USS
Vincennes. The United States says the downing of the plane,
which killed all 290 passengers and crew, was an accident.
"The issue has turned into a good excuse for another wave of
hype against Iran," said the Alef news website which carries
views close to the official line in Iran.
"Without any proof or real basis, Western media have jumped
again to paint a more negative picture of Iran."
A spokesman for the US Navy's Fifth Fleet in Bahrain
acknowledged that the replica was "more akin to a Hollywood
set than a warship."
"We know it's not an actual aircraft carrier. It's made to
look like one of ours ... but makes us wonder: what is it all
for?" Jason Salata told Reuters by telephone.
"We've seen them make target barges before and tow them and
shoot them out as missile exercises and use it for state-run
media. This one is a little bit of a head-scratcher. If
you're spending resources on this, what would it be for?"
Iranian officials were not available to comment.