persian gulf map 298.88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The United States is planning a major naval build up in and around the Persian Gulf as a warning to Iran, CBS News reported late Monday.
According to the report, the deployment would begin next month and would include a second aircraft carrier to join the one already in the region.
US officials said the deployment was not aimed at launching an attack but rather to deter Iran from performing "provocative steps", such as the recent naval maneuvers Teheran held.
Other US officials, however, denied the report, calling it "speculative," Israel Radio reported.
Meanwhile, Russia failed to resolve differences with the Washington and key European countries over a UN resolution that would impose sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment.
Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Monday there had been "some progress" during talks among the six key nations trying to negotiate with Iran - Britain, France, Germany, the US, Russia and China - but he said differences remain over a travel ban and a list of companies and individuals that should be subject to a freeze of their financial assets.
Churkin called the travel ban "unnecessary" and said that while Moscow accepts the concept of having some financial restrictions related to prohibited nuclear-related activities, "we have not agreed with the list."
The latest draft resolution would order all countries to ban the supply of specified materials and technology that could contribute to Iran's nuclear and missile programs, and would impose a travel ban and asset freeze on key companies and individuals in the country's nuclear and missile programs who are named on a UN list.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Monday morning about some of the outstanding issues. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said afterwards: "We are hopeful that we can get a vote in the very near future."
Britain's UN Ambassador, Emyr Jones Parry, said he would like the draft resolution to be finalized on Tuesday if possible, but the resolution needs to be discussed by the entire 15-member Security Council. Discussions are expected to take place on Tuesday.
Asked whether he expected a vote by the council before Christmas, China's UN Ambassador Wang Guangya said: "I think there's a 50/50 percent."
Wang said the travel ban might be the sticking point.
Acting US Ambassador Alejandro Wolff said the US views the travel ban as "a priority and an important element of this resolution and we will continue to push for it."
"It's a complicated exercise," he said.
The six countries offered Iran a package of economic incentives and political rewards in June if it agreed to consider a long-term moratorium on enrichment and committed itself to a freeze on uranium enrichment before talks on its nuclear program.