The United States Wednesday treated an Iranian claim that it would send ships close to US waters with derision, saying it did not reflect Tehran's ability to project sea power far from its shores.
"We don't take these statements seriously, given that they do not reflect at all Iran's naval capabilities," President Barack Obama's spokesman Jay Carney said.
The State Department echoed those remarks.
"I'd simply say that given the limited size and capability of the Iranian navy they would be far better off focusing on the challenges closer to home," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
Such challenges include "reducing the potential for naval incidents in the Gulf and playing a constructive role in freedom of navigation and maritime issues at home and helping to counteract piracy in the Gulf of Aden," she said.
Asked if Iran were involved in counter-piracy initiatives in the Gulf of Aden or in the Indian Ocean, she replied: "To my knowledge they are not involved in these multilateral efforts."
Asked if Iran would be welcome to play such a role, Nuland replied: "I think that if they took a stronger role off their own coast in countering piracy, as I've just said, we would all welcome that."
by Dan De Luce
(c) 2011 AFP
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