The White House brushed off Iran’s claim that it’s moving warships toward America’s maritime borders.
“The Iranian Army’s naval fleets have already started their voyage towards the Atlantic Ocean via the waters near South Africa,” Commander of Iran’s Northern Navy Fleet Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad announced on Saturday, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.
“Iran’s military fleet is approaching the United States’ maritime borders, and this move has a message,” Haddad added.
The news agency added that Iran’s has been vowing to send “a flotilla into the Atlantic” since 2011, but this claim takes on an added dimension with the concessions just granted to Tehran by the U.S. in nuclear talks.
The Fars report said the recent moves are a tit-for-tat, getting back at Washington for its beefed-up presence in the Persian Gulf.
“There was an Iranian announcement that they are moving ships close to the United States, and we have no evidence that Iran is, in fact, sending ships close to the U.S. border,” press secretary Jay Carney told reporters today.
On the reports that Iran has also been successfully conducting missile tests, Carney said “we have been clear that even as we work with the P5+1 to test the hypothesis that Iran is ready to meet its obligations to the international community with regards to its nuclear program, that we are at odds with Iran on a number of issues.”
When pressed again on whether he was disputing the warships report, Carney quipped, “Is Fox reporting that they’re moving warships closer to the U.S.?”
He was reminded that Iran made the claim, and it was reported by several wire services.
“Again, I don’t have a specific answer to that report. I’m sure we can get it to you, and I’m sure State has it. What I can tell you is that we continue to have major disagreements with Iran, and we press very hard, whether it’s their support for international terrorism, for Hezbollah, or whether it’s enforcement of existing sanctions,” Carney said. “We are not letting up on Iran, on a wide variety of issues where we are profoundly in disagreement with them and have rallied an international consensus around that fact.”
The State Department did not comment on the report at today’s press briefing.