Satellite photos of what looked like one of the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, complete with planes, in the Gulf had sparked suspicions of strange military moves in the area.
It was first believed that Iranians were building a mock-up of a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, possibly so they could then blow it up for propaganda purposes, the New York Times reported, citing intelligence sources.
But Iranian media said on Sunday that the replica spotted near the coast of Iran was nothing more sinister than a movie set.
According to newspaper reports, the ship is “part of the décor” for a movie being made by Iranian director Nader Talebzadeh on the 1988 shooting down of an Iran Air civilian plane by the USS Vincennes.
The United States says the downing of the plane, which killed all 290 passengers and crew, was an accident.
“The issue has turned into a good excuse for another wave of hype against Iran,” said the Alef news website which carries views close to the official line in Iran.
“Without any proof or real basis, Western media have jumped again to paint a more negative picture of Iran.”
In comments to Reuters news agency, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain acknowledged that the replica was “more akin to a Hollywood set than a warship.”