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White House downplays arrival of second U.S. aircraft carrier in Gulf, says

Iran not targeted WASHINGTON, April 30 (KUNA) -- The White House on Wednesday downplayed the arrival of a second U.S. aircraft carrier in the Arabian Gulf, saying it was part of regularly scheduled military exercises and not aimed at Iran.
"They reinforce that the U.S. has an enduring commitment to the region and to our allies, and we continue to protect our allies and interests wherever necessary," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino during a White House briefing.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Tuesday said the arrival of the USS Abraham Lincoln off the coast of Iran was a "reminder" to Iran, but Pentagon officials last week expressed publicly their concerns over Iranian activities in Iraq that target U.S. troops.
Perino noted that Gates also said the United States was "currently undertaking regularly scheduled military exercises in the Gulf, and these exercises are not aimed at Iran".
Gates also said he does not anticipate the U.S. carriers would be in the Gulf very long, Perino noted. (end) rm.ajs KUNA 302222 Apr 08NNNN