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Iran blows up replica US warship in drills

Katharine Lackey
Iran blows up replica U.S. aircraft carrier in military drill

Iran's Revolutionary Guard used a mock U.S. aircraft carrier in its defense drills for the first time Wednesday, blowing up the replica warship near the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.

State TV footage showed missiles being fired at the carrier nearly a year after the U.S. Navy disclosed Iran was constructing a replica ship. The full-scale model was attacked by cruise and ballistic missiles as well as rockets fired from speedboats, according to Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency.

"The message of these wargames is that others should pay good heed to the point that they should not take any action near the Islamic Republic's security circle," Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the Guard's chief commander said, according to Fars. "We believe (Iran) to be the defenders of the Strait of Hormuz' security and showed this in our wargames today."

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The drills, dubbed the "Great Prophet 9," also involved shooting down drones and planting mines, Fars reported. The Guard's navy commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi told Fars that the nation's mine-laying capability is "the most important concern of the Americans."

"We have the most advanced sea mines which cannot be imagined by the Americans," he added.

Last month, Fadavi said his force is capable of sinking American aircraft carriers in the event of war, the Associated Press reported.

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Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, the spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet in Bahrain, downplayed the attack on the mock ship, saying the U.S. military was "not concerned about this exercise."

"We're quite confident of our naval forces' ability to defend themselves," he said, according to AP. "It seems they've attempted to destroy the equivalent of a Hollywood movie set."

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About one-fifth of the world's oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. has been concerned in the past Iran could disrupt the oil flow or attack American ships in the region.

The drills come as Iran negotiates with the United States and other Western nations over its disputed nuclear weapons program.

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