Amid the to-ing and fro-ing of John Kerry and the nuclear program negotiations, it seemed quite ironic that Iran would unleash a major naval drill near the strategically vital entrance of the Persian Gulf. As AP reports, more than a dozen swarming Iranian speedboats assaulted a replica of a U.S. aircraft carrier, as the Guard's navy chief, Adm. Ali Fadavi, who last month boasted that his force is capable of sinking American aircraft carriers in the event of war, said on state television, "American aircraft carriers are very big ammunition depots housing a lot of missiles, rockets, torpedoes and everything else."
Caught on tape...
As AP reports, with rockets roaring and guns blazing, more than a dozen swarming Iranian speedboats assaulted a replica of a U.S. aircraft carrier Wednesday during large-scale naval drills near the strategically vital entrance of the Persian Gulf.
The nationally televised show of force by the country's elite Revolutionary Guard comes just weeks ahead of a deadline for Iran and world powers to forge a historic deal on the fate of the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.
Iranian live-fire war games are not uncommon. But by simulating for the first time an attack on the ultimate symbol of American naval power, hard-liners hoped to send a message that Iran has no intention of backing down to the U.S. — whichever way talks over its contested nuclear program go.
"American aircraft carriers are very big ammunition depots housing a lot of missiles, rockets, torpedoes and everything else," the Guard's navy chief, Adm. Ali Fadavi, said on state television. A direct hit by a missile could set off a large secondary explosion, he added.
Fadavi last month boasted that his force is capable of sinking American aircraft carriers in the event of war. He previously called carriers easy targets and said Iran naturally wants to sink them.
The drill, named "Great Prophet 9," was held near the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of the world's oil passes. Iran's regular army carried out naval drills near the strait in December.
State TV showed footage of missiles fired from the coast and the fast boats striking the ersatz American carrier, which appeared to be a replica seen in a shipyard in the southern port of Bandar Abbas last year. The drills also included Guard forces shooting down a drone and planting undersea mines.
The Guard's chief commander, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, said the drills send a "message of (Iran's) might" to "extraterritorial powers," a reference to the United States.
The US response was measured and appropriate...
Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, the spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet in Bahrain, said the Americans were monitoring the drills, which had no effect on maritime traffic. He downplayed the simulated attack on the carrier, 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. "It seems they've attempted to destroy the equivalent of a Hollywood movie set."
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