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Iran's army commander said the U.S. had moved the John C Stennis aircraft carrier out of the Gulf because of Iranian military exercises.
But Tehran's warning of 'action' if the ship returns.
SOUNDBITE: Iranian Army Commander, Major General Ataollah Salehi, saying (Farsi with English translation):
"I think the enemy has got the message. As you saw, once our naval drills began the enemy's aircraft carrier left the Strait of Hormuz for the Sea of Oman. We repeat that we do not intend to take any irrational action but we are ready to counter any threat. We have warned the aircraft carrier which posed a threat to us against returning to the Persian Gulf. And we are not going to repeat the warning."
Iran's responded to tighter U.S. and European Union sanctions over its nuclear programme with increasingly belligerent rhetoric.
But the threat of action takes that rhetoric to a new level.
It's already spooked oil markets last month by saying it could stop shipping through the Strait of Hormuz.
That was followed by 10 days of naval exercises in the Gulf, during which it test fired missiles capable of hitting U.S. targets in the Middle East.
Paul Chapman, Reuters