As the media reveal, Iran is building an aircraft carrier. The construction of this warship, which has been first discovered from some satellite photos in the last summer, is taking place at the Gachin shipyard, near Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf. As the photos show and according to some intelligence analysts, Iran's warship has the same shape and style of the American Nimitz-Class aircraft carrier. This issue has raised some speculations among many Western intelligence and military experts.
Regarding this vessel, Cmdr. Jason Salata, a spokesman for the Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, claims:
“Based on our observations, this is not a functioning aircraft carrier; it’s a large barge built to look like an aircraft carrier”. Furthermore, Cmdr. Jason Salata states:
“We’re not sure what Iran hopes to gain by building this. If it is a big propaganda piece, to what end?” (1).
Some other American Navy and intelligence analysts call the vessel a mock ship and claim that the construction of this warship is Iran's new military deception tactic. This group of experts generally believe that following the completion, Iran would move the vessel to the Sea and blow it up, while filming the explosion event, in order to make a propaganda movie against the West, in case that the nuclear negotiations within P3+3 group would fail and reach a dead end. From this type of statement, we can deduce that Iran might use this propaganda movie in order to show to the world that a high technological military vessel such as an American aircraft carrier is vulnerable and defeatable in the Persian Gulf, in case of any military confrontation between Iran and the West.
In response to these statements, a few explanations should be mentioned. Firstly, Iran is not the only country in the world that uses different military tactics including military deception method in order to foster an atmosphere of doubt, fear and hysteria among its enemies. This is obvious that Iran has used such tactics in the past and will undoubtedly use it in the future as well. But Iran's intention behind the construction of such a vessel might not be identified as pure military deception tactic based on different reasons including: the size, shape, time, energy and costs of the construction of such a warship. We should not forget that the construction of a huge vessel such as an aircraft carrier cannot be compared with construction of a drone or a tank or a warplane in different terms.
Secondly, based on my knowledge, Iran does not need such a huge, time consuming and costly project just in order to make a propaganda film to show that an American aircraft carrier is vulnerable and defeatable at the Persian Gulf. One might wonder why? This is a Christal clear point that Iranian Navy would not be able to compete with the American highly technological and equipped Navy. But we should not forget that Iran's missile and rocket industries have had huge developments in the last couple of years in terms of power, range and precision. I believe at the present time, Iran is easily capable to target any object at the Persian Gulf with its surface-to-surface long and middle range rockets and missiles from its territory.
In this respect, a high technological military defense system such as the American Iron Dom system might not be able to respond and dismantle such an attack in an appropriate way. The recent wave of rocket attacks, which were fired from Gaza to Israel, confirms my statement to some extent. The Israeli Iron Dom defense system could not detect and dismantle all the rockets and as a result some of the rockets reached the targets in the Israeli territory. Such an event would / might occur for an American aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf as well; of course, in case of a military confrontation with Iran. Thus, it would be wise to avoid "The Mirror Imaging" perception in this matter. At this juncture an important and additional issue should be mentioned. That is Iran's intention behind such rocket attacks on Israel. In fact, Iran is trying to test the weakness and strength points of the Iron Dom defense system through such a sudden rocket attack on Israel.
Thirdly, some experts claim that Iran wants to blow up the so-called Nimitz maket, while filming the explosion event, in order to make a propaganda movie. By this, Iran might tell the world that it has dismantled the American aircraft carrier Nimitz. This is not a realistic and good scenario based on many reasons. For example, What would Iran do, when the vessel Nimitz take a position in the Persian Gulf or in the international water? What would Iran do, when the international media show a 5 minutes live clip about Nimitz? Such an event would be a huge scandal for Iran.
Fourthly, as it appears some of the western intelligence and military experts do not take Iran seriously not only in this matter but also in other arenas. As it noted above, for example, Cmdr. Jason Salata claims that the vessel is not functioning at the present time or some other experts call the vessel a mock ship. As these statements illustrate, it seems most of the Western analysts underestimate Iran's ability and capability. This type of perception about the Iranian Regime is totally wrong. For example, Cmdr. Salata claims that the vessel does / might not function at the present time. That’s true; but that does not mean that the vessel will not function in the future too. There are different examples, which show that Iran has surprised the international community in various terms in different occasions through the last 35 years. So might be the case of current war ship.
As an example, i refer to one of Ayatollah Khomeini's statements, when he in the beginning of Iran and Iraq war said: “The road to Qods (Jerusalem) passes through Karbala".
What was our reaction in 1988, when Iran signed the peace agreement with Iraq after eight years war? As Ayatollah Khomeini himself said, we claimed that Khomeini drank the poison and Iran lost the war. What is Iran's current position in Iraq? Iran has conquered Iraq in the sense that the USA and its allies forced to leave the country. In addition to Iraq, Iran has expanded and strengthened its influence in Syria and Lebanon as well. To put it simply, through all these years, Iran has precisely followed Khomeini's statement. Another example is the case of Iran's nuclear activity and Iran's developments in this matter. Where did stand Iran 20 years ago with regard to uranium enrichment? Where does Iran stand now? Did we think that one day Iran might be able to build a nuclear facility such as Fordo plant almost 90 meters below the surface?
All these examples indicate that we should not underestimate Iran's ability and capability in any direction including the current warship or the so-called "the mock ship". Otherwise, we might be surprised once again by the Iranian Regime. In sum, i think Iran might have a serious and long term plan for this war ship; something, which is directly related to its nuclear activity. Iran might try to use this issue in order to be able to continue with its uranium enrichment program at a level that can be used for a nuclear aircraft carrier. Such an event would empower Iran's military capability and in addition would facilitate an undercover opportunity for Iran to pursue its main goal; obtaining nuclear weapon.
M. Sirani 22.03.2014