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As sanctions bite, Iran threatens US aircraft carrier (Video)

Iran threatened to attack a US aircraft carrier if it returned to the Persian Gulf. Sanctions targeting Iran's oil sector prompted a 40 percent drop in Iran's currency value.

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Iran threatened on Tuesday to take action if the U.S. Navy moves an aircraft carrier into the Gulf, Tehran's most aggressive statement yet after weeks of sabre-rattling as new US and EU financial sanctions take a toll on its economy.

The prospect of sanctions targeting the oil sector in a serious way for the first time has hit Iran's rial currency, which has fallen by 40 percent against the dollar in the past month.

Queues formed at banks and some currency exchange offices shut their doors as Iranians scrambled to buy dollars to protect their savings from the currency's fall.

Army chief Ataollah Salehi said the United States had moved an aircraft carrier out of the Gulf from because of Iran's naval exercises, and Iran would take action if the ship returned.

It did not name the carrier, but the USS John C Stennis leads a task force in the region, and the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet website pictured it in the Arabian Sea last week.

"Iran will not repeat its warning ... the enemy's carrier has been moved to the Sea of Oman because of our drill. I recommend and emphasise to the American carrier not to return to the Persian Gulf," army chief Salehi said.

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