The (real) USS Nimitz
The (real) USS Nimitz Photo by Wikimedia Commons
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An Iranian newspaper is reporting that the country's military plans to target a mock-up American aircraft carrier during upcoming war games.

The Sunday report by independent Haft-e Sobh daily quotes Adm. Ali Fadavi, navy chief of the powerful Revolutionary Guards as saying Iranian forces should "target the carrier in the trainings, after it is completed."

Adm. Fadavi said: "We should learn about weaknesses and strengths of our enemy."

This is the first reaction by Iranian officials to a March report that said Iran is building a simple replica of the USS Nimitz in a shipyard in the southern port of Bandar Abbas. Iranian officials did not comment then but state TV said it would be used in a movie.

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.

United States intelligence analysts first noticed it last summer from satellite photos of Iranian military installations.

The ship has the same distinctive shape and style of the Navy’s Nimitz-class carriers, as well as the Nimitz’s number 68 neatly painted in white near the bow. Mock aircraft can be seen on the flight deck.

American officials said that the mock-up has no nuclear propulsion system and is only about two-thirds the length of a typical 1,100-foot-long Navy carrier. Intelligence officials do not believe that Iran is capable of building an actual aircraft carrier.