An Iranian naval commander said Tuesday that his forces have been drilling on how to destroy U.S. warships for several years, and bragged that Iran's navy could sink an aircraft carrier in "50 seconds."
Admiral Ali Fadavi, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy, told the Fars News Agency
that U.S. aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf would be prime targets in any possible war between the countries.
"They [the Americans] know nothing – we have been making and sinking replicas of U.S. destroyers, frigates and warships for long years, and we have sunk the replica of their vessels in 50 seconds through a series of operational measures," Fadavi told the news agency.
"We practice the same drills on replica aircraft carriers because sinking and destroying U.S. warships has, is and will be on our agenda."
Iran is building a simple replica of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in a shipyard in the southern port of Bandar Abbas to be used in future military exercises, the Associated Press
U.S. officials are neither impressed nor worried.
"Whatever Iran hopes to do with the mock-up, it is likely to have zero impact on U.S. Navy operations in the Gulf," Cmdr. Jason Salata, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, told the Associated Press.
"Firing weapons at a stationary structure floating on pontoons is not a realistic representation of having the capability to target a 100,000-ton warship . . . maneuvering at speeds in excess of 30 knots."
Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren dismissed the Iranian mock-up, saying he'd seen a classified image that showed it listing by about 30 degrees.
"My guess is you could sink the mock-up in 50 seconds," he said."We are wholly unconcerned about the Iranians' mock-up of an American ship."
The Iranian saber-rattling comes as diplomats prepare for a new round of talks over Iran's nuclear program next week in Vienna, The Hill
U.S. and Iranian negotiators are expected to draft a final nuclear deal this month, and aim to strike a final deal by mid-July, the end of an interim deal reached last November.
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