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Iran Claims American Ship Observing Hormuz Naval Exercises

Iran claimed that it had observed an American aircraft carrier sailing in the same area where it was conducting military exercises.
By David Lev
First Publish: 12/29/2011, 11:46 AM

Iran on Thursday claimed that it observed an American aircraft carrier sailing in the same area where it was conducting military exercises. Officials in Tehran said that they had taken photos and videos of the carrier plying the waters in the Strait of Hormuz, but did not release that material.

Commodore Mahmoud Mousavi, the spokesman for the Iranian exercises, told the official IRNA news agency that "A U.S. aircraft carrier was spotted inside the maneuver zone... by a Navy reconnaissance aircraft.” He said that the fact that Iranian forces were able to take the photos proved that Iran had a strong and powerful presence in the Strait, and was able to “monitor all moves by extra-regional powers in the region.”

The U.S. has not commented on the story, but experts said that the USS John C. Stennis, one of the U.S. Navy's biggest warships, was probably the ship in question, as it had just left the area off the coast of Iraq in recent weeks, and was still in the region.

Earlier this week, Iran threatened to close the Strait if the U.S. interfered with the drill, with the U.S. responding that such an act “would not be tolerated.” Much of the oil exported from the Middle East to Europe and the U.S. passes through the Strait of Hormuz, and any interference with ship traffic could wreak havoc on Western energy markets.

Iran is halfway through its 10 days of navy exercises in the area east of the Strait's shipping lanes.