The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis entered the Persian Gulf March 27, where it will conduct a joint exercise with the Dwight D. Eisenhower, which has been in the Gulf since October. The air wings of the two carrier groups will conduct a joint exercise while surface ships will hold exercises in anti-submarine, anti-surface ship and mine warfare. The Stennis is escorted by the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam.
The two carrier groups are in the Gulf at a time of increasing tension. On March 24, the UN Security Council approved a new sanctions resolution that Iranian officials say is illegal, and Iran is also holding 15 British sailors, claiming they were in Iranian waters. (UPI, March 27)
Russia and China joined the rest of the Security Council in voting to impose the new sanctions—the second in three months against Iran for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment. The sanctions include the banning of Iranian arms exports and freezing the assets of 28 people and organizations involved in Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. (AP, March 27)
A senior Iranian military official warned the US against launching any attack on the Islamic Republic. “If America starts a war against Iran, it won’t be the one who finishes it,” Morteza Saffari, naval forces commander of the Revolutionary Guards, was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency. “Our people will not even allow one American soldier to enter our country,” Saffari said. (South Africa Business Day, March 28)
Conspiracy guru Webster Tarpley, citing “well-known Russian journalist Andrei Uglanov” in the Moscow weekly Argumenty Nedeli, citing “Russian military experts close to the Russian General Staff,” says the US attack on Iran will begin at 4 AM on April 6, with a strike on the Bushehr nuclear facility. The campaign, which will target some 30 sites around Iran, will be code-named Operation Bite. (Atlantic Free Press, March 26)
See our last post on Iran.