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TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran threatened on Tuesday to take action if the U.S. Navy moves an aircraft carrier into the Gulf, Tehran's most aggressive statement yet after weeks of saber-rattling as new U.S. and EU financial sanctions take a toll on its economy.
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"Iran will not repeat its warning...the enemy's carrier has been moved to the Sea of Oman because of our drill. I recommend and emphasize to the American carrier not to return to the Persian Gulf," he said.
"I advise, recommend and warn them over the return of this carrier to the Persian Gulf because we are not in the habit of warning more than once."
The U.S. military brushed off the threat: "The deployment of U.S. military assets in the Persian Gulf region will continue as it has for decades," said spokesman Commander Bill Speaks.
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The aircraft carrier USS John C Stennis leads a U.S. Navy task force in the region. It is now outside the Gulf in the Arabian Sea, providing air support for the war in Afghanistan, said Lieutenant Rebecca Rebarich, spokeswoman for the 5th Fleet.