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By Michael P. Orsi
Edward Snowden should declare his patriotism in court
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - John C. Stennis
Outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta reaffirmed the value of aircraft carriers last summer, telling the crew of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) as it redeployed to the Middle East that carriers are key to American defense because they're "agile, deployable, on the cutting edge of technology and can defend the United States of America any time, any place, anywhere."
While Iran's military loudly trumpets every new project or purported advance in hopes of rattling the United States and its Gulf Arab allies, Washington is quietly answering with an array of proposed arms sales across the region as part of a wider effort to counter Tehran.
A recent 10-day naval exercise by Iran was intended to display a capability to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz should further sanctions be imposed that would affect Iran's oil industry. The exercise was accompanied with the usual bluster, even threatening some unspecified action should the attack carrier USS John C. Stennis return to the Persian Gulf.
Iran closed out naval war games in the Gulf on Tuesday much the way they began last month: striking a tone of military defiance while Western powers rallied behind tougher oil and financial sanctions as a crippling tool against Tehran's nuclear program.
Iran's stepped-up bellicosity, including a warning Tuesday that a U.S. aircraft carrier should not return to the Persian Gulf, is a reaction to increased talk in the United States and Israel of a strike on its nuclear sites, and of the West adding economic sanctions on its already struggling economy, analysts say.