Tehran: A US aircraft carrier currently
deployed in the Middle East should "not return" to its base in
the Gulf, the head of Iran`s armed forces declared on Tuesday,
adding ominously there would be no repeat warning.
"We advise and insist that this warship not return to its
former base in the Persian Gulf," Brigadier General Ataollah
Salehi told reporters, according to the armed forces website.
"We don`t have the intention of repeating our warning,
and we warn only once," he was quoted as saying.
The warning came just one day after Iran`s navy completed
10 days of manoeuvres at the entrance to the Gulf with the
test-firing of three missiles designed to sink warships.
The aircraft carrier Salehi was referring to was the USS
John C Stennis, one of the US navy`s biggest vessels.
The US vessel last week passed through the Strait heading
east across the Gulf of Oman and through a zone where the
Iranian navy was holding its manoeuvres. The US Defence
Department said the passage was "routine."
The United States keeps at least one aircraft carrier in
or near the Gulf at all times, on rotations of weeks or
months. It maintains the base of its Fifth Fleet in the Gulf
state of Bahrain.