As tensions remain high between Iran and the U.S., the Islamic Republic appears to have constructed a new mock-up of an aircraft carrier off its southern coast for potential live-fire drills. The faux foe, seen in satellite photographs obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, resembles the Nimitz-class carriers that the U.S. Navy routinely sails into the Persian Gulf from the Strait of Hormuz, its narrow mouth where 20% of all the world’s oil passes through. While not yet acknowledged by Iranian officials, the replica’s appearance in the port city of Bandar Abbas suggests Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard is preparing an encore of a similar mock-sinking it conducted in 2015.
Acting U.S. Navy Secretary Thomas Modly issued an apology on Monday to the former commander of a coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier after sharply criticizing him in a speech to his crew, just days after firing him. “I do not think Captain Brett Crozier is naive nor stupid,” Modly said amid calls for his removal, including from the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, a Democrat. The apology, which Modly also extended to the carrier’s crew and Crozier’s family, was a reversal from a statement the Navy’s top civilian issued hours earlier that said: “I stand by every word I said.”