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01/03/12

Iran Warns US Carrier Away From Persian Gulf

Source: VOA

Iran says a U.S. aircraft carrier should not to return to the Persian Gulf, a day after Tehran completed naval exercises near the strategic Strait of Hormuz. Iranian army chief Ataollah Salehi said Tuesday Iran will not repeat its warning, but did not name the U.S. carrier.

Iranian army chief Ataollah Salehi
Iranian army chief Ataollah Salehi - “We advise, recommend, and warn them that this aircraft carrier (should) not return to its previous place in the Persian Gulf, because we are not used to repeating a warning and give a warning only once,” Major General Ataollah Salehi said during the closing ceremony of the 10-day naval war games which was staged in a large area from the Strait of Hormuz to the Gulf of Aden.


A spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, which is based in Bahrain, said last week the USS John C. Stennis moved out of the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz in a pre-planned, routine operation.

Iran has threatened to respond to sanctions over its nuclear program by closing the strait, a vital export route for the other oil-producing countries of the Persian Gulf. The U.S. Navy says it will not allow disruptions to Gulf shipping.

France on Tuesday called for stronger sanctions against Iran, including freezing the assets of its central bank.

The statement follows a similar move by the United States, which imposed new sanctions targeting the central bank that could also affect Iran's ability to sell oil on international markets.

Reports from Iran Monday said the nation's currency slumped to a record low against the U.S. dollar, two days after U.S. President Barack Obama signed the sanctions into law.

The step is part of a push to hamper Tehran's ability to finance its nuclear and missile programs.

The United States and the European Union contend Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons under the guise of its civilian nuclear program. Iran says its nuclear intentions are peaceful.

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