US carrier to test limits of Iranian rhetoric
Reuters Africa / Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON Jan 20 (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy has
been moving its massive aircraft carriers in and out of the Gulf
for decades, but when it sails through the Strait of Hormuz
again, there will be extraordinary attention on what the Navy
considers a mostly ordinary maritime maneuver.

Iranian officials earlier this month bluntly warned a
U.S. carrier not to return to the Gulf and have threatened to
block the strait, spooking oil markets and raising the specter
of a U.S.-Iranian confrontation.

But rhetoric aside and barring a miscalculation on
either side, U.S. officials tell Reuters they don't believe
that the next carrier voyage through the narrow strait is likely
to trigger a violent exchange with Iran. That is a
view shared by U.S. analysts.

The U.S. military does not envision any special steps at
this point ahead of the next carrier trip through the strait,
beyond the lengthy protocols Navy carrier strike groups would
follow anyway when heading through the world's most important
oil shipping lane, officials say.

"I don't foresee the next (carrier entry) being any
different than the regular ones we've been doing for the last 20
years," o... >>>

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