TEHRAN — Iran’s defense minister Wednesday stressed his country’s warning against the U.S. navy presence in the Gulf, reinforcing a threat dismissed by Washington as a sign of “weakness” by Tehran.
“Iran will do anything to preserve the security of the Strait of Hormuz” at the entrance to the Gulf, Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said, according to the website of Iran’s state television.
“The presence of forces from beyond the [Gulf] region has no result but turbulence. We have said the presence of forces from beyond the region in the Persian Gulf is not needed and is harmful,” he was quoted as saying.
The comments echoed a warning issued Tuesday by Iran’s military that it would unleash its “full force” if a U.S. aircraft carrier is redeployed to the Gulf.
“We don’t have the intention of repeating our warning, and we warn only once,” Brigadier General Ataollah Salehi, Iran’s armed forces chief, said as he told Washington to keep its aircraft carrier out of the Gulf.
The White House on Tuesday brushed off the warning, saying it “reflects the fact that Iran is in a position of weakness’ as it struggles under international sanctions.
The U.S. Defense Department said it would not alter its deployment of warships to the Gulf.
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