Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New U.S. carrier in Gulf a "reminder" to Iran: Gates

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy has temporarily added a second aircraft carrier in the Gulf as a "reminder" to Iran, but this was not an escalation of American forces in the region, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters during a trip to Mexico, Gates flatly denied a suggestion that the presence of two U.S. carriers in the Gulf could be a precursor to military action against Tehran.

"This deployment has been planned for a long time," Gates said. "I don't think we'll have two carriers there for a protracted period of time. So I don't see it as an escalation. I think it could be seen, though, as a reminder."

He declined to elaborate on his remarks and provided no details about the deployment.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said the second carrier arrived in the Gulf on Tuesday to replace one on duty that was expected to depart the region in two days.


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