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U.S. carrier group
By NORMAN BLACK
WASHINGTON - The Reagan adminis-
tration, in a new warning to Iran not to
escalate the Persian Gulf shipping war, has
moved an aircraft carrier battle group into
the northern Arabian Sea within striking
distance of new Iranian missile batteries,
U.S. officials disclosed Thursday.
Moreover, U.S. Navy ships assigned to
the Mideast Task Force to 3
may soon begin escorting corlfirhrgfclfimf gw
ers and cargo ships destined for K
thc sources said. Some of the waulgilt
attached to the carrier battle grours lm
might be ordered to join the task forp ah
such escort work, they added. ce fu
The officials, who agreed to discu
matter only if not identified said thellsm
States now has 18 warships in or neafls
Iraqi plane blamedg
By NABILA MEGALLI
MANAMA, Bahrain - The U.S.
guided-missile frigate Stark was
attacked in the Persian Gulf Sunday
night, and there were unconfirmed
repons by marine salvage officials
that at least one sailor was killed
and others were injured.
The gulf-based salvage execu-
tives said the Stark was attacked by
a gunboat but the U.S. Defense
Department said it was struck by
missiles fired by an Iraqi warplane.
Pentagon officials said they had no
information on casualties.
The conflicting reports could not
immediately be reconciled.
A Soviet tanker leased to Kuwait
struck a mine in the southem gulf
Saturday night. The official Soviet
news agency Tass said the vessel
suffered damages, but no crew
members were killed. It made no
Sunday's attack is believed to be
the first on a U.S. warship in the
Persian Gulf since the war between
Iraq and Iran began in 1980.
Gunboats are frequently used by
Iran to attack vessels in the south-
ern gulf suspected of supplying
Iraq, while Iraq usually uses war-
planes to raid tankers transporting
Iranian oil in the northern gulf.
One Western diplomat in Man-
ama told The Associated Press with-
out elaborating it was "an acciden-
tal air strike."
According to the salvage execu-
tives, the attack ignited a "huge fire
that damaged the frigate heavily"
as it was moving in the central sec-
tor of the gulf near Qatar.
"According to radio messages
received from ships and tugboats
we know there was a huge blast
and quite a number of casualties,"
said one source, who spoke on con-
mention of injuries.
See SHIP !Page 2A.
'rite Daily Breeze Cape cmi, ri Wednesday, Mm-en 25,187 2
I 'Insecurity far Americans'
Iran ilouis U.S. warning I R A
, ATHENS, Greece KUPIJ - Iran
flouted a U.S. waming against us-
'ing missiles to close the Strait of
Hormuz, the world's gateway to
,Middle East oil' fields, and wamed
that any attack on Iran will lead to
"insecurity for Americans around
"The Americans once tried to
come to Tabas tin eastem Irani
but were stopped by a storm in the
,Iranian desert," Iranian Parlia-
ment Speaker Akbar Hashemi
.Rafsanjani said Tuesday, referr-
ing to a failed 1980 hostagerescue
mission to Iran that left eight
Americans dead. ,
"The storms of the Persian Gulf
are stronger than thtse of Tabas,"
Rafsanjani told Tehran radio.
."We are more prepared now.
"If, God forbid, any such thing
happens tagaiut, there will be in-
security for Americans arotmd the
.world. The incidents of Lebanon
'can be repeated everywhere," the
Iranian leader said, alluding to the
kidnappings of Americans in
On Monday, a White House
spokesman said Washington warn-
ed Iran, through Swiss diplomats,
that it intends to keep the Persian
Gulf shipping lanes open. Earlier
U.S'. reports sHd Iran has install-
ed Chinese-made Silkworm
missiles in the Strait of Hormuz,
the mouth to the Persian Gulf.
"The storms of the Persian
Gulf are stronger than those of
Tabas. We are prepared
now...If, God forbid, any such
thing happens tagalny, there
will be insecurity for Americans
around the world."
The missiles have a a 50-to
60-mile range, enough to cover the
Gulf, and can carry a conventional
warhead powerful enough to sink a
large oil tanker, analysts said.
They are radar-guided and can be
fired from a single-rail launcher
or a tracked vehicle.
But Rafsanjani told Tehran
radio, "All this noise by the U.S.
will solve nothing.
"If the Strait of Hormuz is to be
closed, there is no need for
missiles," he said. t'We can close
it with artillery."
But, he added, "This is not a
Rafsanjani said Iran has had the
Silkworm missiles "for a long
time," and "they knew we had
them in the Hormuz area." He
suggested the United States might
have a special reason "for discuss-
ing the matter,now." -
In Washington, Reagan ad-
,,,f,',,, Strait of Hormuz
' 0Larak ttrant
ministration officials said Tues-
day they are considering a request
by Kuwait to provide warship '
escorts for Kuwaiti-owned oil
tankers in the Persian Gulf to
guard against Iranian attacks.
0 Tunb ls. ttrant
1- To Persian Gulf
. Gulf of Oman
Ordering the six-ship U.S. Mid-
dle East Force in the Persian Gulf
to escort foreign ships would
escalate American military activi-
ty in the region, but administra-
tion officials said they view the
move as a "normal extension" of
protection for American vessels
plying the waterway.
U.S. may send worships to guard
" WASHINGTON CUPID - Kuwait may get the
answer it wants to its request for U.S. warship escorts
to guard Kuwaiti oil tankers against Iranian attacks in
the Persian Gulf, administration officials say.
No agreement has been reached, but the United
States has told the oil state it would "look positively"
at using destroyers and frigates based in the water-
way to escort Kuwait's tankers, the officials said
One official, like the others speaking on condition of
anonymity, said a favorable decision could come
"There is a,very real threat to our shippin '
. g in the
Gulf and to the shipping of free nations."
DEFENSE SECRETARY CASPAR
within several weeks,
Ordering U10 Six-ship Middle East Force in the P -
SW? Gulf t0,e?c0"t f0feiEI1 Ships would escalate UZ.
military activity in the tense region, even though ad.
tnuustration officials said they view the move
. , . as a
normal extension' of protection for American
9 Abu Musa
u.A.e. 1 "tes
UPI Graphic V
The United States is considering a request by
Kuwait to provide warship escorts for Kuwaiti-
owned oll t-lllkerl ill UIC mam
guard against Iranian attach. lllmhum
flclala said Tlwldly-
Kuwati oil 'tankers agair1Sl
flagship vessels plying the waterway.
A U.S. naval presence has existed for decades in the
Persian Gulf, which is a source for much of the world's
oil. The force of destroyers and frigates is led by the
command ship USS LaSalle and is based in the oil
state of Bahrain.
Tuesday, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger ap-
peared to endorse extending U.S. naval support to
friendly gulf nations in the face of Iran's tfueats to
shut the Strait of Hormuz, the horseshoe-shaped en-
trance to the gulf.
"There is a very real threat to our shipping tn the
gulf and to the shipping of free nations," Weinberger
told the House Armed Services Committee. "So we
have to be aware of and capable of responding to re-
"That's essentially Wh!
empty maine. ll W'
:fave a vested lntlvll in
because tbat's how UN!
The Fort Wayne Joni-nangaze
tie Friday, March 20, 1957 1E-
istriking range of lran'an missiles
. Gulf following the arrival in the
Pffslan - ' d' Ocean battle
N s In tan
area oleclhlfy thicvgarrier Kitty Hawk.
Broaltile stressing no orders had been
. e are for a ml ,.
'Sued xggrsgid the presence of the Kitty
one ,ioand its warplanes was meant' to con-
HBV' ,m le wa!-njng to iran - If they
Lago? 3: asybody with those missiles, they
s . --
can be eliminated.
Iran and Iraq, at war for nearly seven
years, have sought to cripple each other's
oil and cargo trade by attacking commer-
cial ships in the gulf.
Spokesmen for the Defense and State
departments and the Navy refused Thurs-
day to discuss the deployment of the car-
rier battle group. At the State Department,
however, spokesman Charles E. Redman
restated President Reagan's pledge to
ensure the free How of oil through the gulf.
It could not be learned immediately
whether U.S. Naty ships had already begun
escorting foreign vessels. But one source
said such a move was being seriously stud-
ied, particularly for vessels bound for
Kuwait. Kuwait has aligned itself with Iraq
in the war and as a result, ships handling its
oil and cargo have become a target of Ira-
Navy ordered to bolster
its fOl'CGS ll'l
By RICHARD HALLORAN
NevllIlAcSl-IIhlGTON - The Navy has
d ed to increase itspres-
E222 llzafrthe Persian Gulf in an
effort to fulfill President Reagans
Pledge to keep oil flowing to allies
in Europe and Japan, PCHIHSOU
officials said Saturday.
The officials said the Navi'
would maintain the aircraft camer
Km-y Hawk on station in the Ara-
bian Sea and the rest of the Indian
Qggan until May, three months
From Page 1A-
sailing through that passage. The
Chinese-made missiles, with a range
of S0 miles, could dominate the
strait. l I
ln mid-March, U,S. intelligence
sources said they spotted large
land-based anti-ship missiles of a
Chinese design near the Strait of
Hormuz. None of the missiles have
been fired, but their presence is
seen as a signal by Iran that it is
prepared to continue and perhaps
step up the shipping war m the gulf
longer than planned, and would
then have a carrier battle group of
six to eight warships sailing there at
all times rather than part time.
In a new tactic, the officials said,
the Navy is considering plans to
deploy battle groups centered on
recently refurbished battleships to
the Indian Ocean to relieve pressure
on the carriers.
Anti-ship missiles Iran has
placed on its side of the Strait of
Hormuz pose a threat to oil tankers
See GULF !Page 12A.
The probability that Iran would
cut off the strait is limited by its
own need to ship oil through the
passage, military analysts say.
American carriers or battleships
would sail out of range of those
missiles but within striking dis-
tance, the officials said.
The chief spokesman for the
Pentagon, Robert Sims, said "there
is an increased requirement to have
carriers in the Indian Ocean."
Sims said the move came "in
recognition of the Persian Gulf situ-
ation and the need to have as much
of a presence there as possible."
Ship C in Q t lmm
From Page 1A. Ig Xgtsx
dition of anonymity. 15- U S
I The Lindon-based I.loyd's ship- XXX ' '
ping inte igence service said i a KUWAIT
brief report on the attack: "Vessel XX
has casualties and is proceeding
under own power to Bahrain." X X ' X,
The attack occurred 45 miles Bahr3lnXN ,XXXQN N. li
northeast of Qatar, said the gulf- t cfpg-,,5,3,, NX X X
based shipping sources. XX Gul' X
Iran earlier Sunday reiterated OA-I-AR N t Mx tt
vyiarnirtgs to the United States and Gulf or Oman SQ tj
t e Soviet Union not to intervene in X x xxwft XQPQY1'
the war and told other states in the N
region that using the superpowers SAUDI s XTEIQQQQQQQ ,
to protect their shipping would not "--
work. ARABM OMAN I
State Department spokeswoman J 'J 11 ,
Deborah Cavin said the Stark was 200 males 55503 1
hit by "two missiles from an Iraqi .SRTYXTXTTTTF5 X' 1
Mirage F-l aircraft" and that Wash- H '
ington has "strongly protested" the
attack to Iraqi officials.
The authoritative book "Jane's
Fighting Ships" lists the Stark as a
3,585-ton, 445-foot frigate carrying
a crew of 200. A frigate is a smaller
ship than a destroyer.
The United States has a seven-
unit task force in the gulf, whose
command ship La Salle docked at
Abu Dhabi earlier Sunday for a
courtesy call. Britain and France
also have naval units in the gulf.
Two Soviet warships have
patrolled the gulf since September,
with two others just outside the
Strait of Homiuz at the southern tip
of the gulf, according to gulf-based
shipping executives in Manama.
Iraq several years ago began
attacking Iran's oil exporting facili-
ties on Kharg Island in the northem
gulf and tankers going to and from
the island, but Iraqi planes rarely
venture beyond that area.Iran retal-
iates with attacks on neutral ship-
ping in the southern gulf.
Tankers bound for Kuwait have
This map shows the location ol the U.S. ship attack on Sunday
been a frequent target of Iranian
attacks, with Iran accusing Kuwait
of helping ferry military supplies to
Kuwait and most Arab states
support Arab Iraq directly or
indirectly against Persian Iran.
Iranian Prime Minister Hussein
Musavi on Sunday reiterated warn-
ings to the superpowers not to
intervene in the gulf, Iran's Islamic
Republic News Agency said in a dis-
patch monitored in Nicosia, Cyprus.
Musavi made the remark during
a meeting in Tehran with 0man's
minister of state for foreign affairs,
Yousef al-Alawi Abdullah, IRNA
IRNA said Musavi also asked
Abdullah to tell members of the six-
nation Gulf Cooperation Council
that security for their shipping
could not be guaranteed by flying
U.S. or Soviet flags.
The council includes Oman,
Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates,
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oatar.
Bahrain-based shipping executives
said the 67,980-ton Marshal Chut-
kov, which struck a mine about 35
miles off Kuwait Saturday night, is
one of three vessels leased by the
Soviets to Kuwait in an attempt to
stop Iranian attacks on Kuwaiti
Tass said the explosion blew a
hole in the ship's hull.
It did not say whether it was
believed the mine was Iranian or
Iraqi. It said the 800-foot vessel was
being towed to Kuwait for repairs,
Gulf shipping executives said the
Marshal Chuikov had been escorted
by a Soviet frigate through the
Strait of Hormuz and was cn route
The Soviets announced in April
it had agreed to lease three tankers
to Kuwait to help ensure protection
from attack. And recently, U.S.
Middle East envoy Richard Murphy
was in Kuwait to discuss registering
up to ll Kuwaiti ships to fly the
THE SUN FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 1987
U.S. battle group steams near Iran to watch shipping
WASHINGTON IAPJ - The Rea-
gan admlnlstration, ln a new warn-
ing to lran not to escalate the Per-
sian Gulf shipping war, has moved
an aircraft camer battle group Into
the northern Arabian Sea wlthln
striking distance of some new lranl-
an mlsslle batteries, U.S. offlclals
Moreover, U.S. Navy s'1lps as-
signed to the Mideast Task Force to
patrol the gulf may soon begin es-
corting commercial tankers and car-
go ships destined for Kuwait, the
sources said. Some of the warships
attached to the carrier battle group
also might be ordered tojoln the task
force for such escort work, they
The offlclals said the United
States now has I8 warships ln or
near the Persian Gulf following the
arnval ln the area of the Navy's lndl-
an Ocean battle group, led by the
camer Kltty Hawk.
The Kitty Hawk and Its battle
group flrst arrived In the Arabian
Sea more than a month ago. But sev-
eral of the carrIer's smaller escorts
recently moved deeper Into the Gulf
of Oman. and plans to send the car-
r1er to the Mediterranean Sea have
been repeatedly delayed. the sources
U S carrier force
Slfa I ol
fl Gul! Gulf
sn Q mm.
It """ ""' ' T '
I.. I .
Q Persian l
Whlle stressing that no orders
had been Issued to prepare for a mtl-
ltary operation, one source sald the
presence of the Kltty Hawk and its
warplanes was meant to convey a
simple warning to iran - 'lf they
shoot at anybody with those mls-
slles. they can be eliminated'
The missiles referred to by the
offlctal are HY-2 rockets, made by
China and recently detected Inside
lran, The land-based missiles, made
for use against ships, have a range
ol' 50 miles.
Although designed more than 20
years ago, the mlsstles are consid-
ered a potent addltlon to lran's arse-
nal of weapons for use against com-
mercial ships plying the Persian
Gulf. Even more slgnlflcantly to U.S.
mllltary planners, the mlsslles were
detected ln an area from which they
can menace the entire Strait of Hor-
muz, the sole passageway Into the
lran and iraq. which have been at
war for nearly seven years. have
sought to cripple each other's oil and
cargo trade by attacking commercial
ships ln the gulf.
'The concem ls slmple," said one
offlclal. "iran could escalate the war
by attempting to close the Stralt of
Hormuz with these mlssllesf
Spokesmen for the Defense and
State departments and the Navy re-
fused yesterday to discuss the de-
ployment of the carrter battle group.
At the State Department, however.
spolfesman Charles E. Redman re-
stattd President Reagan's pledge to
ensure the free flow of oll through
"The United States has made It
repeatedly clear that the Persian
Gulf ls an area of vital concem to us
and 'o our friends and allies around
the worldf he said, uWe remain con-
cerned about those attacks and con-
tlnut to discuss those attacks with
lt could not be learned lmmedt-
ately whether U.S. Navy ships had
already begun escorting foreign ves-
sels. But one source said such a
move was being seriously studied.
particularly for vessels bound for
According to the sources. the
United States now has seven war-
shlpslnslde the gulf and ll ships ln
the northem Arabian Sea and Gulf
of Oman near the Strait of Honnuz.
The Kltty Hawk remains outside the
gulf but well wlthtn the range ol' its
warplanes, they sald.
The entire Kltty Hawk battle
group has now moved north of Al
Maslrah, Oman, the sources added.
describing that as unusually deep
Into the Arabian Sea for a earner
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