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Iran warns US carrier to stay out of Persian Gulf

Iran's army chief has warned the US to keep an aircraft carrier that recently left the Persian Gulf away from the area.

Strait of hormuz 12 29 2011Enlarge
An Iranian Army soldier stands guard on a military speed boat during the 'Velayat-90' navy exercises in the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran on Dec. 28, 2011. (ALI MOHAMMADI/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran's army chief has warned the US to keep its aircraft carrier, the USS John C Stennis, which recently left the Persian Gulf during Iranian military exercises, away from the area.

"We recommend ... to the American warship that passed through the Strait of Hormuz and went on to the Gulf of Oman, not to return to the Persian Gulf," The Associated Press cites Gen. Ataollah Salehi as telling Iran's official IRNA news agency.

"We don't have the intention of repeating our warning, and we warn only once," Salehi was quoted as saying in comments also posted on the Iranian armed forces website, AFP reported.

Salehi did not give details of the action Iran might take if it returned, nor did he name the carrier, Reuters reported.

The carrier — one of the US navy's biggest vessels — reportedly passed through the key Gulf oil supply route of the Strait of Hormuz last week.

It was heading east across the Gulf of Oman, after a visit to Dubai's Jebel Ali port, through a zone where the Iranian navy was holding its maneuvers.

It left the area because of 10 days of Iranian naval exercises in which they fired a number a new missiles.

(GlobalPost reports: Iran test-fires missile near Strait of Hormuz)

According to the ABC:

The display of military muscle was designed to show Iran's ability to close the strait, through which 20 per cent of the world's oil flows, if it chooses.

The US Defense Department described the passage as "routine," according to Australia's ABC News.

The US Fifth Fleet is based in the Gulf state of Bahrain and keeps at least one aircraft carrier in or near the Gulf at all times.

It responded by saying it would not allow shipping to be disrupted in the strait, Reuters reported.


 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120103/iran-persian-gulf-us-military-aircraft-carrier-strait-hormuz