Written by TML StaffU.S. Sends Third Carrier to Gulf; Denies Build-UpFri Jul 13, 2007 17:23
U.S. Sends Third Carrier to Gulf; Denies Build-Up
Written by TML Staff
Published Wednesday, July 11, 2007
The United States is sending a third aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, amid heightened tension with Iran over the latter’s controversial nuclear program.
The Pentagon is denying that the deployment of the aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, indicates a military build-up in the region.
U.S. Navy officials in Bahrain indicated the carrier would not replace the two existing carriers in the gulf, the USS John C. Stennis and the USS Nimitz but would rather increase their number to three.
This would constitute the largest naval presence in the Gulf since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
This was soon denied by Pentagon officials who suggested the carrier would replace one, or possibly both of the carriers already in the region.
The deployment is part of a “routine swap,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.
The deployment of the Stennis to the region in February was widely covered in the local and international media. Its stationing led to speculation that the U.S. was beefing up forces in the Gulf to prepare for an eventual military showdown with Iran.
Western countries, and in particular the U.S., are concerned Iran is covertly manufacturing nuclear weapons, a claim that Tehran strenuously denies. Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes.
Diplomatic efforts to pressure Iran into abandoning its nuclear program have not been successful.
The Enterprise is expected to arrive in the Gulf within a few weeks.
A May 17, 2006 file photo shows the USS Enterprise in the Adriatic sea, near the city of Split, Croatia. The U.S. navy has sent a third aircraft carrier to its Fifth Fleet area of operations, which includes Gulf waters close to Iran, the navy said on July 10, 2007. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
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