A U.S. naval spokesman said such reports had been checked and turned out to be untrue.
Still, the rumors pushed up oil prices. It comes as the U.S. kicked off a military operation in the Persian Gulf on March 27 that commanders said was meant to send a warning to Iran.
Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in Washington on March 27 that the U.S. government is open to talks with Iran. But in a speech to the American-Turkish Council, Gates said the United States should have no illusions about the nature of the Tehran government and its nuclear intentions.
He also called on Iran to encourage political reconciliation and a reduction in violence in Iraq.
(AP, AFP, Reuters)
Iranian Shi'a protesting the Golden Mosque Bombing in Iraq on February 24
WHAT IS GOING ON? On March 8, RFE/RL's Washington office hosted a roundtable discussion on relations between Iraq and Iran. Although most analysts agree that Iran has been actively involved in Iraq since the U.S.-led military operation to oust former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, they continue to debate the nature, extent, and intent of that involvement.
The RFE/RL briefing featured WAYNE WHITE, former deputy director of the U.S. State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research's Office of Analysis for the Near East and South Asia, and A. WILLIAM SAMII, RFE/RL's regional analyst for Iran and editor of the "RFE/RL Iran Report."
LISTENListen to the complete RFE/RL briefing (about 75 minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media