Iran US warship warning boosts tensions

2012-01-03 18:00

Tehran - Iran's military on Tuesday warned one of the US navy's biggest aircraft carriers to keep away from the Gulf, in an escalating showdown over Tehran's nuclear drive that could pitch into armed confrontation.

"We advise and insist that this warship not return to its former base in the Persian Gulf," said Brigadier General Ataollah Salehi, Iran's armed forces chief.

"We don't have the intention of repeating our warning, and we warn only once," he was quoted as saying by the armed forces' official website.

The ominous message came just after Iran completed 10 days of naval manoeuvres at the entrance to the Gulf to show it could close the strategic oil shipping channel in the Strait of Hormuz if it felt threatened.

In the climax of the war games on Monday, Iran test-fired three missiles - including a new cruise missile - designed to sink warships.

The aircraft carrier Salehi was referring to was the USS John C Stennis, one of the US navy's biggest warships. The massive, nuclear-powered vessel transports up to 90 fighter jets and helicopters and is usually escorted by around five destroyers.

It is close to finishing its seven-month deployment at sea.

The carrier last week passed through the Strait of Hormuz heading east across the Gulf of Oman and through the zone where the Iranian navy was holding its manoeuvres. The US Defence Department called its passage "routine".

The potential for an Iran-US conflict sent a shiver through oil markets on Tuesday, pushing oil prices up around $2 a barrel.

Stricter sanctions

There was no sign of a let-up in the tensions.

At the weekend, US President Barack Obama signed into law new sanctions targeting Iran's central bank, which processes most of the Islamic republic's oil export sales.

The European Union, which is mulling an embargo on Iranian oil, is expected to announce further sanctions of its own at the end of January.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said he was convinced Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons, and he wanted to see "stricter sanctions" applied on Iran.

The Western sanctions add to four sets of UN sanctions imposed over Iran's nuclear activities.

The United States and many Western nations believe Iran is developing an atomic arsenal.

Tehran denies that, saying its nuclear programme is exclusively for energy production and medical isotopes.

In a statement to underline progress it has made, Iran's atomic energy organisation said on Sunday its scientists had made the country's first nuclear fuel rod from indigenous uranium.

Iran's armed forces chief-of-staff, General Hassan Firouzabadi, added to the defiance by saying on Tuesday that the Revolutionary Guards, an elite military force apart from the regular defence services, would soon hold its own naval manoeuvres in the Gulf.

Increasingly bellicose

Foreign ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters that "the foreign forces" present in the Gulf - meaning the US Navy - "are against the security of the region".

He said Iran's war games underlined his country's commitment to ensuring "stability and security in the region".

Despite the increasingly bellicose stand Iran's military was taking, Tehran suggested it was keeping the door open to negotiating with world powers over its nuclear programme.

Iran was waiting for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to set a date and venue for a meeting to discuss resuming talks that have been stalled for nearly a year, Mehmanparast said.

But a spokesperson for Ashton shot back immediately that Iran "must first respond" to an October letter from Ashton sent proposing renewed talks, "and then we'll take it from there".

The negotiations were being held with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus non-permanent member Germany.

International pressure has already hit Iran's economy by scaring off foreign investors.

Iran's currency, the rial, went into a nose dive on Monday, losing 12 percent, after Obama put the new US measures into effect.

It recovered on Tuesday when Iran pumped foreign exchange into the market, according to Commerce Minister Mehdi Ghazanfari, quoted by the IRNA news agency.

Mehmanparast said the volatility "definitely has nothing to with sanctions."

"What's happening with the exchange market has its roots elsewhere," such as domestic movements of capital, he said.

  • Gerhard - 2012-01-03 18:21

    The US Navy will sink the entire Iranian Navy any old Wednesday afternoon.

      Wilfred - 2012-01-03 18:32

      do u think so,but i think one on one situation i tend to differ unless all the gangsters (nato) get involved

      Squeegee - 2012-01-03 18:46

      hahaha. "We warn only once". This is like a bunny warning a leopard.

      Trevor - 2012-01-03 18:55

      @Wilfred-Since when has War been played by any rules?? He with the biggest stick wins everytime.

      Havokreeka - 2012-01-03 18:57

      Don't underestimate Iran's technology. They're getting more advanced every day. They're already leaps and bounds ahead in nano tech. If they do strike, they could actually cause a decent amount of damage. They're also not afraid to resort to nuclear weapons.

      Sharkshoot - 2012-01-03 19:14

      I also doubt China or its allies will intervene as Iran is the only country sabre-rattling and thoroughly deserve a giant PK by the most advanced military machine in the world.

      mikenortje - 2012-01-03 19:24

      Seriously who gave Gerhard a thumbs down, he is just stating a fact. The USA would sink the whole Iranian fleet in a day, maybe a sub would be able to hide a little longer. This without even putting a single one of there soldiers in harms way with there drones.

      Juan - 2012-01-03 19:25

      Yip one little nuclear sub aught to do it

      Sterling - 2012-01-03 19:35

      Iran is like a dog barking loud and doesn't bite. Iran's defense budget is too small to compete with a country like the US with over a trillion dollars defense budget.

      Barry - 2012-01-03 19:42

      I feel sorry for Iran on this. It is pretty much like Iraq, invading the country because Weapons of Mass Destruction were existing in Iraq, yet nothing, NOTHING was found. Where is the proof of nuclear weapons in Iran ? Nope, I am afraid afraid there is nothing yet. Iran has a lot of OIL though. Just like Iraq. Go figure.

      Brian - 2012-01-04 00:16

      Are you serious?, the United Terrorist America , have not won a war they have instaged and fought in since the second world war. Only for Russian intervention ,which saved the day they might have been on the loseing side in that war also. United Terrorist America, were thrased in Vietnan , they were beaten like the filthy warmomgering rats that they are. Did you never see the footage as Americans Terrorist killing each other to get on the last helicopter flights as the brave Liberation movement had them cornered . Their latest defeat and humiliation was Iraq, their militarty might , useing all forms of Terrorist tactics , from rape, torture, kiddmapping, summary exuction, bombing civillians, theft of resources, instaging racial and religious strife between various factions etc all failed . Now they are planning with other Zionist controlled allies more horrendous carnage in Syria and Iran, not content with destroying and bombing Libya back to the stoneage. United Terrorist America is now all but a police state, old Zionist bootlicker Obama , said before election , that he would take on the Zionist Gangaster Bankers , who have all but brought UTA to its knees,he promised heath reform etc for the poor etc. Now he is desprate to get reelected he wipes the Zionist backsides and is their plaything , fighting their wars "Israhell" and making huge profits for the Zionist Bankers and industrail military . The UTA Empire is about to become history.

  • Wilfred - 2012-01-03 18:25

    world war 111

  • Azande - 2012-01-03 18:34

    shes what you know its not about a navy war its about startin a war

  • Juan - 2012-01-03 18:54

    Those Iranians are seriously delouded. Shame

  • Joseph - 2012-01-03 19:17

    were are we heading,world war 111 or the demise of America.

  • mundu.olewega - 2012-01-03 19:20

    Hope the fish in the gulf like Iranians!

  • stephen.decampos - 2012-01-03 19:24

    Havokreeka - Iran doesn't have nuclear weapons, that's what this whole thing is about. And secondly, The US-Navy has more firepower in one fleet than the whole Iranian navy. The US has 12 of these fleets. Yes, Iran is more advanced than they were 15 years ago... But with an annual defence budget of nearly a TRILLION dollars, compared to Irans $10 billion, so is the US. Iran is displaying the same defiance that Iraq did before the first gulf war... And The US destroyed them, quickly...

      Christopher Collings - 2012-01-03 20:36

      Iraq's so called Royal Guard lasted 36 hours & surrendered shortly after the US onslaught. Iran will fall just like Iraq did. Keep in mind the coalition forces that are just as keen on kicking Iran into oblivion. So its not just the US that's involved in the offensive. Iran is way out of its league & should seriously think twice about picking a fight with the West. Much like bringing a knife to a gun fight, Iran is outclassed in every facet. Should they be stupid enough 2 fire a missile @ US interest, Irans defenses will be utterly & totally demolished in an instant.

  • NickvanderLeek - 2012-01-03 19:29

    I wonder if the thinking is that war against Iran is profitable. How else does this make sense. If nuclear weapons really are a threat, why no sanctions against North Korea?

      Juan - 2012-01-03 19:36

      north korea is willing to make consessions in exchange for food aid. their people are starving

      stephen.decampos - 2012-01-03 19:38

      There are sanctions against North Korea, but North Korea have in the past shown alot of willingness to give up its nuclear programme. The problem with Iran is their blatent calls to 'wipe Israel off of the map' and their known alliances to terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah. A nuke is only as effective as it's delivery system. With North Korea being so far away, and lacking long-range missiles capable of carrying a warhead, their threat is limited; whereas Iran's proximity to Israel and Europe make them a more imenent threat, given their advances is short-range delivery systems.

      Bob - 2012-01-03 19:45

      Simply because big brother China is watching over North Korea. Any provocation against North Korean would upset the Chinese...which the west does not want to do!

      John - 2012-01-09 23:43

      Nick, there are huge sanctions against N Korea on going as we speak. Google "sanctions against N Korea"

  • Sterling - 2012-01-03 19:31

    Many African leaders are calling for the US to withdraw from the world however, the military buildup by Iran is a threat to Africa. Sadly enough, most African leaders don't have a clue to what's going on in the Gulf with Iran.

      Barry - 2012-01-03 19:42

      Seems you dont have a clue either.

      Sharkshoot - 2012-01-03 19:51

      Too true. Just a few months ago Zooma had his snout firmly wedged up a certain Libyan despots bottom. He now has it wedged up a certain Nigerian despots bottom. The lack of oxygen has depleted his remaining brain cells.

      Juan - 2012-01-03 19:54

      most african leaders don't have a clue, period

      John - 2012-01-09 13:18

      Oh Barry, go put a face on your avatar so at least we can see who it is with his head up his ass

  • William - 2012-01-03 20:22

    I believe that any nation that threatens anither with nucleur destruction is acting irresponsibly not only to man kind but to our already overburdened environment. We already have enough pollution and as we have seen at the last COp conference developed nations are unwilling to reduce emiisions prefering instead to stay in the global race of "economic developement" For iran to threaten to close the straights of Hormuz is the same as threatening its neighbor states and denying them access to the oil markets which they supply. Americafaces a major problem it that the country is broke. After fighting wars in other other countries since the bigginning of the the last century i.e WW1,WW11,Korean war, Vietnem war, Nato wars(Yugoslavia) and finally Iraq and Afghanistan the country which has always espoused non colonising policies has seriously iverstepped the mark. They could not afford to go to war with Iran at this point in time. America needs to turn inward again and start to rebuild itself as a nation by putting its millions of peo;e back to work rebuilding it's aging infrastructure, and creating wealth through its technology instead of developing weapons to keep it ahead in the world arms race. I believ that should the Iran goverment act out this threat Americas response will be swift and staggeringly brutal to minmise any long drawn out conflict. I pray this never happens but the ideo;ogy of the Iran people has been diverging with the commen thread of goverment and global and

  • Singatha - 2012-01-03 20:52

    Excuse my ignorance on these matters nuclear, and my total ignorance of treaties and international relations( honestly are other countries never ever to acquire means of weaponry or technology other than the USA,UK,Russia,China,France,never mind being labelled rogue states by the ineffectual U.N. which drives these "phony" treaties and led by the bully "BIG 5" at the U.N.? Now, I'm not endorsing what & how countries like Iran and N.Korea(axis of evil??) get on "with their business" and their disregard of treaties, but if they have scientists who can do the "business" who are we to interfere in their "business" except to safeguard our own, perhaps effectively through diplomatic means and not force feed them our take what is acceptable(i.e.take our own brand of "democracy" to them as was/is demonstrated in the Iraq/Afghanistan wars).This in my limited understanding of diplomatic/international relations matters, but these have directly led to the unnecessary massacre that was World War 2 and I'm afraid, post(if there is such)Iraq/Afghanistan wars we are heading straight into another abyss. ????Others should have the Sword of Damascus but others should not? And by which virtue?....

      stephen.decampos - 2012-01-03 21:49

      Yeah.. great idea... Lets give Iran, Hezbollah, and North Korea nuclear weapons... Heck, while we're at it, let's give Mugabe some, too... Because as we know, they will only ever use them for good.

      jowza1 - 2012-01-04 15:02

      stephen.the only country to use nuclear bombs to date is the americans.thefirst country to use chemical warfare was the americans,ask the vietnamese.

      John - 2012-01-09 23:27

      @jowza1. Got it a bit skewed there my friend read Germans WW1 were the first. Also Iraq used chemicals in a non war situation on their own people, the Kurds.

      stephen.decampos - 2012-01-11 17:34

      @jowza1 - Yup, and had the US not done so, many many more lives would have potentially be lost. Personally, I'm thankful that this world, for the time-being, is dominated and policed by a freedom-loving empire like the US. They have done more to expand freedom around the globe than any other country in the history of the world - often at great expense to themselves. May God continue to bless America.

  • DREGstudios - 2012-01-03 22:22

    The National Defense Authorization Act is placing the sanctions on Iran which are FORCING their hand in these issues. Our government is playing with fire and ASKING for World War III by picking a fight with the Iranian Government. This SAME legislation gives our own government the power to detain American citizens indefinitely and without trial for speaking out against this agenda of war-profiteering through causing constant strife and conflict in the Middle East. Join the discussion about how our Government is waging war without public approval and suppressing our Freedom of Speech so far that we are petrified to stand up against them. Speak out with me against Living in this Society of Fear at

  • fahimessack - 2012-01-04 08:16

    can barack satin obama give up his threats and face the real world...he hid the so called face and movie of osama and now he wants to start again in middle east...wat does he want(this tym oil or a showdown cause this man can)long live iran...ameen

  • Rajan - 2012-01-04 09:07

    A new war is on the way. Iran thinks that US and Nato will not create a problem in persian gulf because of its strategic importance of oil movement. But they think wrong USA and Nato will not mind that it will affect millions of poor people's life in whole world. They definetly going to start a new war which will raise the oil price to 300us$ per barrel. we common people will have to face the loss not Multinational Corporates and its allies USA and Nato. Therefore be prepared for an another invasion in Middle East.

  • Zifnab - 2012-01-04 12:56

    Weird thing is that the only country ever to use a nuclear weapon in anger on another nation has become the self-appointed watchdog on nuclear weapons. By the way: if anyone wants to see Mad Bob swing from the gallows - just spread a rumor that vast oil reserves was discovered in Zim.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-01-04 14:48

    Irrespective of any personal views over who has what or is capable of what, the final analysis is a simple case of the strait of Hormuz is Iranian territory, it is not international water and the US is bound to the UN resolution on trade routes. Iran has a UN sanctioned right to not only control the strait and dictate the rule and regulations to all foreign vessels in the straight (section 42) but if the US were to send a battle ship through the three mile wide shipping lane they would effectively be declaring war on Iran. Their warning is simple and easy to understand, Do not send your War ships through our territorial waters. The remarks around stopping oil tankers on their way to the US is an added consequence warning not an immediate action one, they have simply stated that should their wishes not be respected they have the power to stop any US bound ship from using the strait (section 40 I believe) Section 40 also requires any military submarine travelling through the strait to do so surfaced and flying its flag of origin, something the US has refused to do since 1988. Irrespective of personal views, and I must say I am not a lover of the Iranian government, irrespective of their motives they are acting within their rights and any action by the US would be unlawful.

      John - 2012-01-09 17:23

      Rubbish read:

  • Travis - 2012-01-04 15:08

    The big question in the coming few weeks and months is: "Does the US attack Iran"? Romney - Yes / Santorum - No (And if Obama survives - Yes). If the US (and its allies) attack Iran, it will indefinitely destable the entire Middle East region causing a much bigger headache that what currently exists. Let Iran build its nuclear energy. Send in the Atomic Energy watch dogs. Dialogue is the best format for this issue to be resolved. If not, by Haliburton shares now!!!!

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