A propaganda stunt turned into a major embarrassment for Iranian military after it accidentally sunk a fake U.S. aircraft carrier, blocking the country’s main waterway, satellite imagery shows. “A replica US aircraft carrier that Iran struck with a barrage of missiles in a propaganda video less than a month and a half ago appears to have capsized in the Strait of Hormuz,” Times of Israel reported on Friday. 

The ill-fated naval drill, named ‘Prophet Mohammed 14th’ war games after the founder of Islam, went awry when the fake carrier capsized at the wrong place, blocking the approach to Iran’s main port Bandar Abbas. The dummy carrier, made to resemble a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, was designed to be reusable and was being towed away after the drill when the mishap happened. 

The naval exercise was carried out by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the regime’s military arm. On July 28, Iranian regime TV showed IRGC helicopters and ground artillery pounding the defenseless dummy, not a hard target to miss, to showcase the regime’s military prowess. 

Forbes magazine was among the first to report the embarrassing mishap: 

The saga of Iran’s fake aircraft carrier, intended as a propaganda coup, is turning into an own goal. The Iranian armed forces, particularly the IRGC-N (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy) delight in attacking the mock U.S. Navy aircraft carrier. It makes their war games more dramatic. And it may be intended to symbolize that they could, if called upon, sink an American carrier. The carrier itself, actually an elaborate target barge, is not intended to sink, however. It is meant to be reusable and has been symbolically ‘destroyed’ twice already. But now it really has sunk. And in very much the wrong place.

The stricken carrier can be seen, capsized, in commercial satellite imagery. The dramatic view above has been shared by Aurora Intel and shows PLEIADES satellite imagery (material © CNES 2020, Distribution Airbus DS, all rights reserved. Acquired through ShadowBreak Intl). The image is taken from above, and shows that the carrier is listing at about 90 degrees. The starboard (right-hand) side is facing upwards. As you look at the image, the carrier was heading from right to left of the image when it succumbed to the waves.

It began to sink when it was being towed back to Bandar Abbas after being attacked. Sebastien Roblin wrote for Forbes on July 31 that the vessel was “listing steeply to one side, with nearly half of the flight deck submerged.” Since then the situation has deteriorated.

The carrier is very large, but still much smaller than the U.S. Navy super-carriers it is designed to represent. We know that it is meant to symbolize U.S. carriers because the mock aircraft have U.S. Navy markings painted on them. It was built in 2013-14 and then dramatically ‘destroyed’ during war games in February 2015. Recently it has been repaired in Bandar Abbas and towed back out to sea. It was then attacked again on July 28 as part of the ‘Prophet Mohammed 14th’ war games. It was circled by speed boats, likely including some of the 100 new vessels unveiled in June, and hit by missiles.

Besides knocking down defenseless dummies, Iran’s Islamic Guards (IRGC) is skilled in going after unarmed women and children. IRGC and its Basij militia massacred over a thousand protesters who took to streets in last year’s anti-regime demonstrations.  They used snipers and machine guns to shoot into crowd, cell phone footage and other evidence showed. Basij enforcers regularly patrol Iranian streets compelling women to wear Islamic headscarves, or hijabs. Women refusing to wear hijab are threatened with rape, torture, and long prison sentences. 

This is the second major blow for Iran’s Islamic regime in recent days. The Tehran-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah has come under suspicion after 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a Beirut port exploded, killing more than 150 people and wounding thousands. Ammonium nitrate is Hezbollah’s ingredient of choice for making bombs and IEDs.

In 2015, the UK police recovered a huge haul of ammonium nitrate stored in a Hezbollah bomb factory outside London. As I noted in my June 11, 2019 post, UK police “recovered thousands of packets containing ammonium nitrate, an explosive ingredient often used in homemade bombs.” The police findings were apparently hushed to keep the Obama-Kerry nuclear deal negotiations afloat, UK media reports suggested

 

 
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