This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Satellite images show that Iran has placed a replica of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz, possibly to use for naval exercises.
#Iran has moved their US #aircraft carrier mockup from the #naval base at Bandar Abbas to nearer the Strait of Hormuz, satellite images show, possibly in advance of naval exercises. 1st view is 26 July, others from 30 March via GoogleEarth https://t.co/iSShpR6Dhn pic.twitter.com/JPH8Dlocfo
— Chris Cavas (@CavasShips) July 27, 2020
News agencies Reuters and AP reported on July 27 that the ship, which resembles a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, could be seen in images provided by U.S.-based space technology firm Maxar Technologies.
In one image from July 26, an Iranian fast-attack boat can be seen approaching the fake vessel, while another showed 16 model planes lined up on the deck of the ship.
After being moved to a berth a few days ago, the mock aircraft carrier was towed out of the port yesterday morning. Today, @maxar captured it in its new location around 50 km southeast (possible fast attack boat approaching). Interesting to see what happens in next days pic.twitter.com/dcpGqkaNzj
— Christoph Koettl (@ckoettl) July 27, 2020
Iranian officials have not confirmed any training exercises involving the dummy ship.
Tehran, which opposes the presence of U.S. and Western navies in the Gulf, frequently holds naval war games in the strategic strait, the conduit for some 30 percent of all crude and other oil liquids traded by sea.
Tensions have been on the rise between Tehran and Washington since 2018, when the United States withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and reimposed crippling sanctions that have battered the Iranian economy.