US to warn Iran with naval buildup in Gulf

The Pentagon is planning a major buildup of U.S. naval forces in and around the Gulf as a warning to Iran, CBS News reported on Monday.

A senior Defense Department official told Reuters the report was “premature” and appeared to be drawing “conclusions from assumptions.” The official did not know of plans for a major change in naval deployment.

Another Defense Department official called the report “speculative” and a Pentagon spokeswomen declined to comment.

Citing unidentified military officers, CBS said the plan called for the deployment of a second U.S. aircraft carrier to join the one already in the region.

The network said the buildup, which would begin in January, wad not aimed at an attack on Iran but to discourage what U.S. officials view as increasingly provocative acts by Tehran.

The report said Iranian naval exercises in the Gulf, its support for Shi’ite militias in Iraq and Iran’s nuclear program were causes for concern among U.S. officials.
http://za.today.reuters.com/news/NewsArticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2006-12-19T065417Z_01_BAN924845_RTRIDST_0_OZATP-USA-IRAN-BUILDUP-20061219.XML