Why is Iran building giant mock-up of U.S. aircraft carrier?
U.S. nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (L); Commercial satellite picture of Iran building a fake aircraft carrier (R)
March 21st, 2014
07:10 PM ET

Why is Iran building giant mock-up of U.S. aircraft carrier?

By Laura Koran

Amid ongoing high-level diplomatic talks between the United States and Iran, it's a symbol of underlying mistrust.

Commercial satellite images obtained by CNN reveal that Iran is constructing a large-scale replica of a U.S. military aircraft carrier, complete with fake U.S-style airplanes, near the southern port city of Bandar Abbas.

The mock supercarrier seems to have been modeled off of an American Nimitz-class (CVN 68) carrier, down to the number "68" painted on the flight deck, though its intended use remains a mystery.

According to one U.S. official, the mock-up is more akin to a Hollywood set than an actual warship.

The U.S. government does not believe the carrier is functional, or that Iran is even capable of building an aircraft carrier.

The same official told CNN's Barbara Starr that while the purpose of the fake carrier is unknown, Iran may be planning to destroy it in a propaganda move. The Iranian government has blown up target barges in the past and aired the footage on its state-run media.

"If this is all for strategic effect," noted the official, "then with all eyes on the construction that seems to fizzle."

Nimitz-class carriers are the centerpiece of U.S. naval forces, and the largest warships in the world. Few countries have nuclear-powered carriers in their fleets.

The revelation that Iran is constructing this mock carrier comes at a potentially pivotal moment in U.S.-Iranian relations.

Back in November, negotiations between Iran and a coalition of countries that includes the United States brought about an interim agreement over Iran's nuclear program. Iran agreed to roll back parts of the program in exchange for an end to certain economic sanctions.

Negotiations on a larger deal are ongoing.

On Thursday, in a message to the Iranian people to commemorate the Persian new year, President Barack Obama said he is "committed to diplomacy" with their country.

But amid the softened rhetoric, there is lingering mistrust in both countries.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the American Jewish Congress in New York on Wednesday that she is "personally skeptical that the Iranians would follow through and deliver" on the November deal.

And in January, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told CNN's Jim Sciutto that the Obama administration has been mischaracterizing the terms of the agreement.

For now, the outcome of these diplomatic efforts and the fate of the fake aircraft carrier remain uncertain.

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Filed under: Iran
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  15. Pietro de la Rosso

    Precision engineering in many fields require large models both computationally and physically manufactured. They're trying to one-up the United States' seaborne aircraft carriers!

    January 22, 2018 at 10:17 am | Reply
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    September 5, 2017 at 4:30 am | Reply
  17. Delaware Water Gap Map

    They're using it as a mock up to destroy they want to figure out how to bring it down ! Or they're trying to make their own !!

    May 30, 2017 at 8:21 pm | Reply
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  19. Mahdi Army

    America for fear of Imam Mahdi is that we will not attack Iran and in the future iranian of Israeli Jews throw into the sea

    March 24, 2015 at 6:57 am | Reply
  20. BooHoo.

    They need to be closely Putin-ized.

    February 26, 2015 at 12:25 pm | Reply
  21. BooHoo.

    If I Ayatollah you once, Ayatollah you a thousand times, don't mess with the U.S.

    February 26, 2015 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  22. Cyrus

    when iranian made it and come to your side and said put your hands up , You believe

    January 3, 2015 at 6:31 am | Reply
  23. James Summers

    None of these countries want us or our BULLETS or DRONES killing their people so why are we there ?

    May 23, 2014 at 10:55 pm | Reply
    • Nitzan Meerovici

      You only have to look at the military expenditures: Civilian contractors, billionaire rising budgets, failures and mendings, you name it.
      This is a great business to loot taxpayers money, and foreign wealth as well.

      June 10, 2014 at 8:25 pm | Reply
  24. James Summers

    Iran hasn't attacked another country in over 100 to 3000 years depending on your source. So why do we need to go to war AGAIN against ANOTHER COUNTRY.
    OH RIGHT, now we have WARFIGHTERS not SOLDIERS ! They keep speaking of the WARFIGHTER OF TODAY.

    May 23, 2014 at 10:53 pm | Reply
  25. JohnSmith

    I would SO love to see Iran attempt to attack one of our carriers. It would be laughable at best. Let's see how effective their anti-ship missiles are against four Phalanx CIWS cannons and three Sea Sparrow anti-missile-missile batteries (8 missiles each). Every aircraft carrier has incredible defensive capability. Will they factor that in when they attack their little toy mockup ship? Pfffffffftttt....... gimmie a break.

    May 21, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Reply
    • beamer sean

      Hmmmm david and goliath..ring a bell?...US invasion of iran 1978 ring a bell?.....
      Sometimes one just doesn't know what the sleeper is...a gaint ..or a mouse...!DO you want your kids to find out? I don't !

      May 28, 2014 at 6:18 pm | Reply
      • John Smith

        That made no sense, Sean. Get back in your Beamer and go back to sleep...

        June 1, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
    • Jesse Colson

      John, also remember the carrier battle group, 1 cruiser, 2 destroyers, 1 sub plus supply ships. Also the airwing including, 42 FA-18 varients with 10 AMRAAMS's missles, 2 sidewinders, 1, 22mm gatlin gun, approx. 504 missles, 25200 rounds of 22mm ammo, and approx. 168, MK-84 bombs. Those Iraninas have about as much a chance reaching a carrier as they have getting their virgins in heaven

      February 26, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Reply
    • cliff thecat

      Why, during hard times,take up port space, just to make a mock ship? B.S. This is some type of cloning device to hide a soviet sub delivering goods beneath, or it's going to be filled with many small powerboats who can launch from it and attempt an attack..

      December 5, 2015 at 8:25 am | Reply
  26. Joe

    It is a filming set for a war movie, silly mericans.

    May 21, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Reply
    • JohnSmith

      No it's not, silly Joe. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-brushes-off-iran-threat-to-aircraft-carriers/

      May 21, 2014 at 5:13 pm | Reply
  27. Just One

    Gee, A toy carrier. A toy drone. Toy Religions. Toy Nations. Toy People. It has been going on for 4 thousand years. People still think it matters. I am from the USA. I wish we would close our borders and let the world tear itself up again like it did last century. This time, we just watch. 10 more years of drilling and we will not need foreign crude. We close off our markets to outsiders with a 35% tarrif and watch the debt shrink to nothing.

    May 13, 2014 at 4:58 am | Reply
    • Joe

      "Toy religion"? You think yours is serious one? At least is better than the talmoud and its cancerous tribe. This "toy nation" which americ can't defeat.

      May 21, 2014 at 3:18 pm | Reply
      • JohnSmith

        Ahh, as I suspected, you're a delusional Iranian. The US isn't out to "defeat" Iran, it's attempting to take a loaded gun out of the hand of a baby (Iran) with sanctions. That's all. The Iranian people don't agree with their figure-head asshat leaders, they want to live a "western" life, but GODFORBID a few Iranian teenagers make a lip-sync video to a song called "Happy" - they're arrested by their own LUDICROUSLY retarded government.

        May 21, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
    • Alien ideologue

      Oh trust me, it's still better and much free than your n***, kayak, and sp**s overrun mess of a "country"...Justone.

      May 21, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Reply
      • John Smith

        You're a delusional moron. Go back to sleep!

        January 3, 2015 at 12:36 pm |
  28. Michael

    Recently Iran released "photographs from a drone of a US aircraft carrier". I wonder if it happens to look like this one.

    May 12, 2014 at 3:29 pm | Reply
  29. Punnisher

    Personally , I don't give a Rats ass about Iran , if the entire country and all its people disapeared tomorrow it would make no difference to me whatsoever.

    May 12, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Reply
    • Iran craddle of humankind

      Personally , I don't give a Rats ass about USA , if the entire country and all its people disapeared tomorrow it would make no difference to me whatsoever too.
      Sooner or later the US will flow. The US was nothing, it has came an empire. Iran was an empire, lose its power but will back to an empire sooner or later. Great Job Iran, you are just the best !

      May 16, 2014 at 3:36 pm | Reply
  30. Pashka


    May 12, 2014 at 3:16 am | Reply
  31. Joe

    Get you facts straight before you spew your lies! TARD!

    May 9, 2014 at 7:39 pm | Reply
  32. Rob Roy

    I think their intention is to destroy it, thinking it might make some sort of impression. It won't work.

    May 9, 2014 at 7:12 pm | Reply
  33. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015. ha

    May 9, 2014 at 6:54 pm | Reply
    • Josh Smith

      Deceiving Iranians can never been trusted.

      May 9, 2014 at 7:35 pm | Reply
    • Joe

      John Smith is a TARD!

      May 9, 2014 at 7:40 pm | Reply
    • Joe

      Name 15 of them, I bet you cant because you're a lying tard!

      May 9, 2014 at 7:42 pm | Reply
    • juanmoretime

      There is a saying, "if you owe a thousand dollars to a bank, YOU should worry, but if you owe one million to the bank, THEY should worry." 22 trillion? Ain't going to happen. What does Iran have? Oil? Is that all? A nation yearning to be modern, ruled by religious fanatics. You are still screwed, you still have secret police, you have no freedom of the press and the government controls your every day lives.

      May 9, 2014 at 8:27 pm | Reply
      • hauptmanngurski

        Free press is worth nothing if it can't generate rational actions. Controlling daily lives may be different in Iran than elsewhere but it is absolutely everywhere through surveillance, blacklisting etc.

        To answer what the aircraft carrier is for: Because they can, and now that they can build drones they may let them start from the mock aircraft carrier. There are many hobby groups building aircraft, trains, doll houses etc, and why Iran shouldn't have one that builds an aircraft carrier is not obvious to me.

        May 12, 2014 at 1:43 am |
  34. Might

    Iran has been making and sinking replicas of US destroyers, frigates and warships for long years, and has sunk the replica of us vessels in 50 seconds through a series of operational measures,

    May 6, 2014 at 7:37 am | Reply
    • JohnSmith

      Ummm, WHAT?? 50 seconds? Through "a series of operational measures"?? What are you talking about? For one thing, it's absolutely absurd to spend that much time building a replica of something just so you can sink it. For starters, this replica has NONE of the internal components of a real US aircraft carrier, it has NONE of the armor or even the same structural materials which makes this an extremely poor representation of a ship, even for practice. But hey, Iran has shown their prowess at developing fiberglass "stealth" planes with no electronics, engines or weapons in them... so just add a fake carrier to the list.

      May 6, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Reply
      • mike

        they build it take it out to sea and film it as they sink and show it to their people as how powerful they are..

        May 9, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
    • juanmoretime

      Yeah, I'd like for them to try that on a real ship, with real planes, real armor, real radar, real missiles and real people. I am sure your butts would be handed over on a plate to one of your ayathollas.

      May 9, 2014 at 8:32 pm | Reply
    • BooHoo.

      They had a plug marked "pull to sink" in the middle of the mock up. Just in case.

      February 26, 2015 at 12:21 pm | Reply
  35. Chaz

    Could they use that carrier to program an image for missiles to use to even attack specific areas of ship.?

    April 16, 2014 at 1:30 am | Reply
  36. ayda

    This replica is for the new movie Ali Taleb Zadeh. In case of accident death toll in 1980 by Vincent Amrkayy carrier. 250 women, children, innocent man who ruthlessly killed many. Iran is dangerous to America or America to Iran. Nkshtn Iranians had even an American. Usa 10000 – 0iran

    April 13, 2014 at 5:32 am | Reply
    • ayda

      Has now no Americans have been killed by Iran. The play dirty lobbying power. Mrykayst politicians who have forgotten their God

      April 13, 2014 at 5:36 am | Reply
  37. Super Power

    Return of the old and original world super power once again.

    April 7, 2014 at 8:06 am | Reply
  38. BOO

    We come in peace, Tootsie Roll.

    April 6, 2014 at 11:17 am | Reply
  39. BOO


    April 6, 2014 at 11:11 am | Reply
  40. Chorizo

    They are going to make a movie! And their navy is going to burn the Nimitz! I'll bet you my camel.

    April 4, 2014 at 5:42 pm | Reply
  41. MD

    IRAN has neutered the "USA" long time ago.

    March 31, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  42. thesantoriniattampines

    America never wanted to have nuclear power to anyone in this world he himself wanted to have only this power since long time. Nut today Iran is trying to have all those equipments that other countries have.

    March 31, 2014 at 6:26 am | Reply
  43. Power

    IRAN will sink all USA's aircraft carriers and all them half breeds and monkeys on board, in less than one hour.

    March 28, 2014 at 5:01 pm | Reply
    • Edward A Steed

      If you're gonna be a troll at least be a good one. Sheesh.

      March 29, 2014 at 11:31 am | Reply
    • john

      really? what kind of drugs are you on?

      March 29, 2014 at 5:00 pm | Reply
    • slotiac

      Pal, you should get a brain transplant; the one you have is dead!

      March 30, 2014 at 9:57 pm | Reply
    • olliepee2014

      In 50 years, I'd say you'd be right.

      March 30, 2014 at 11:07 pm | Reply
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      You monkeys cannot even make a light bulb. Dummies.

      April 3, 2014 at 8:15 am | Reply
  44. Iran Naval Observer

    The ship may be made of cardboard, but that is the sort of ship the Iran navy has --cardboard. Just like Kim Jung Un and his cardboard missiles...

    March 28, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Reply
  45. lightforpeace

    Iran's leadership will never give up their dream of nuclear bombs. These men will hide inside bomb bunkers while their own people die.

    March 27, 2014 at 7:14 pm | Reply
    • Greg

      Gee lightforpeace, did you ever finish grade school? Judging by that stupid anti-Iranian comment above, that appears quite questionable.

      March 28, 2014 at 12:16 am | Reply
    • Digusting

      and where do you expect the president of US to go in the event of nuclear war? to your house to tell you everything will be O'lright?

      April 2, 2014 at 11:11 am | Reply
      • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob


        You are stupid, aren't you?

        April 3, 2014 at 7:58 am |
      • Stan B

        Actually, I'd expect him to tell me "If you like your fallout shelter, you can keep your fallout shelter!" just before he absconds with it....

        April 4, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
  46. lightforpeace

    Iran's leadership will never give up their nuclear bomb ambitions as long as they can lie and bluff their way to realizing this dream of power. Sad their dream will become their nightmare and their leaders will hide in bomb bunkers after the fact while their people die.

    March 27, 2014 at 7:10 pm | Reply
  47. Adam

    Everyone calm the heck down, they confirmed its just being built for a movie about the shooting down of an Iranian air liner in 1988.

    March 26, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  48. DC Observer

    Makes sense to do this. The only US ship Iran could sink would be one built of cardboard. MY big problem with this is that North Korea will now build an entire US Naval taskforce made of cardboard –so he can sink it

    March 26, 2014 at 11:27 am | Reply
  49. Bless

    God Bless IRAN.

    March 26, 2014 at 8:15 am | Reply
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Mythical characters don't bless anything or anyone.

      April 3, 2014 at 7:59 am | Reply
  50. saywhat???

    Seriously ?!?!?!?! WHO CARES

    March 25, 2014 at 6:56 pm | Reply
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