4 Jan 2012

US to keep sending aircarft carriers to Gulf

3:49 pm on 4 January 2012

The United States says it will continue to send aircraft carriers to the Persian Gulf despite a warning from Iran to stay away.

The Pentagon says the US will carry on with naval deployments, as it has done for decades.

The Iranian military has threatened to take action if the nuclear-powered John C Stennis, returns to the area.

The aircraft carrier left the Strait of Hormuz about a week ago, just as Iranina naval exercises were getting under way, the BBC reports.

As the exercises ended on Tuesday, Iran's army chief warned the Americans to keep their carrier out of Gulf waters for good.

The Pentagon issued a swift response, insisting the existing pattern of US naval deployments will continue unchanged.

And a US State Department spokesperson said the threats from Teheran were "increasing evidence the international pressure is beginning to bite there".

The price of crude oil has risen sharply on international markets due to concerns Iran might seek to close the strait - the main route for oil exports from the Gulf.