0948 GMT February 19, 2019
The USS John C. Stennis entered the Persian Gulf on Friday, ending a long absence of US aircraft carriers in the region.
“The presence of this warship is insignificant to us,” said Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, the deputy commander of the Iranian Army for coordination.
“We will not allow this warship to come near our territorial waters in the Persian Gulf,” he added.
Sayyari said the US Navy was allowed to sail in international waters near Iran, just as the Iranian Navy could sail in the Atlantic Ocean near US waters.
He said, however, that Iran was on alert for possible threats. “They do not have the courage or ability to take any measure against us. We have enough capabilities to stand against their actions and we have fully rehearsed for that.”
On Friday, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps began a massive drills in the Persian Gulf.
The IRGC Ground Force’s chief Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour said the drills take place on a strategic and defensive level proportionate to the enemies’ potential threats.
A US-Iranian war of words has escalated since US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington in May from a world powers’ nuclear deal with Iran, and reimposed sanctions on its banking and energy sectors.
Iran has warned that if it cannot sell its oil due to US pressures, then no other regional country will be allowed to do so either, threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.
A fifth of global oil consumption passes through the Strait from Middle East crude producers to major markets.
Sayyari added that some of our neighbors have “borrowed security” and have sought help from countries that are promoting Iranophobia.