The White House denied the speculations that the US was preparing for the strike against Iran.
'We reject any notion that suggests that we are ratcheting up the language in terms of trying to prepare to go to war with Iran. That is certainly not the case,' White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said at a news briefing, Monday.
The reiteration by the White House occurred at the time when US aircraft carrier Nimitz and its support ships are leaving for the Persian Gulf to join another aircraft carrier strike group already in that region.
Last week, Perino said the US is not escalating tensions with Iran and insisted that its naval exercises in the Gulf has been long planned, Indo-Asian News Service reports.
The USS Nimitz and several other American warships left San Diego today for the Persian Gulf to join another locally based aircraft carrier strike group already in the region.
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier will join the San Diego-based John C. Stennis Strike Group and relieve the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, according to Naval Air Forces Public Affairs.
Military officials said in a statement that the two-carrier presence in the Persian Gulf area is intended to demonstrate U.S. "resolve to build regional security and bring long-term stability to the region."
President Bush ratcheted up the rhetoric over the weekend, calling the detainees "hostages" -- a term not even the British had used.
The tension over the detainees coincides with international pressure on Iran to give up its uranium enrichment program, which it maintains is strictly for peaceful purposes. The United States and other nations fear Iran is working toward the development of nuclear weapons.
The Nimitz will support the war on terrorism, patrol the Horn of Africa and conduct marine security operations as part of the larger effort to "deter and dissuade others from acting counter to U.S. national interests," according to a Navy statement.
Accompanied by his family at Naval Air Station North Island this morning, a sailor preparing for his fifth deployment said the departures aren't getting any easier for his three young daughters -- a 22-month-old, a 3-year- old and a 5-year-old, nctimes.com reports.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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