- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard warned Tuesday that the nation would target U.S. aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf if war ever broke.

Adm. Ali Fadavi, who heads up Iran’s naval forces, delivered the remarks as the nation is trying to finish its mock-up of an American carrier, the Associated Press reported.

“Aircraft carriers are the symbol of America’s military might,” Adm. Fadavi said, according to AP. “The carriers are responsible for supplying America’s air power. So, it’s natural that we want to sink the carriers.”

Adm. Fadavi told Iran’s Fars news agency that the size of the carriers makes them an “easy target,” AP reported.

His threat comes as a major deviance from the more moderate tone set by President Hassan Rouhani, who’s spent considerable time since taking office reaching out with a conciliatory nature to the West. Military experts say the contrasting voices only serve to reinforce the conflict that’s being waged within Iran, among top government and military officials.

The Revolutionary Guard’s navy forces are separate from Iran’s national navy, and serve in spots that are located mostly around the Persian Gulf, AP reported.

Adm. Fadavi claimed he’s already conducted a number of training sessions in which Iranian naval officials take out a mock-up U.S. carrier — and on one training occasion, the destruction only took 50 seconds, according to AP.

But a U.S. Navy official dismissed the Revolutionary Guard’s threat, and said Iran’s supposed speedy destruction of the simulated American carrier was just that — supposed.

“Whatever Iran hopes to do with the mock-up, it is likely to have zero impact on U.S. Navy operations in the Gulf,” said Cmdr. Jason Salata, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain, AP reported. “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.”

Tehran has been actively seeking to upgrade its air and sea power in recent months.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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