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Iran Says U.S. Presence In Gulf 'Not New Issue'

An F/A-18F fighter jet takes off from the U.S.S. John C. Stennis aircraft carrier during maneuvers in the Persian Gulf.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) says it considers the deployment of U.S. warships to the Persian Gulf part of their routine activity.

The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) quotes IRGC Deputy Commander Hossein Salami on January 21 as saying that "U.S. warships and military forces have been in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East region for many years and their decision in relation to the dispatch of a new warship is not a new issue and it should be interpreted as part of their permanent presence."

The statement appears to downplay recent warnings from Tehran to Washington to stay out of the region amid heightened tensions over Iran's nuclear program and Western sanctions.

Earlier this month, Iran threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz -- the vital shipping lane for oil shipments out of the Persian Gulf -- if new sanctions hit its crude exports.


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