Nightly News   |  January 03, 2012

U.S.-Iran tension escalates

Iran warned U.S. aircraft carrier Stennis not to return to the Persian Gulf, but U.S. officials rejected the threat. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski has more.

Share This:

This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Maybe you've been following what's been going on with Iran . Some building tension concerning the Strait of Hormuz , the vital oil tanker pathway in the Persian Gulf . Iran 's been threatening to close it to retaliate against Western sanctions. Tonight this all escalated when Iran warned the US that the US aircraft carrier Stennis , which just cycled out of the gulf as part of a normal rotation, had better not return to the gulf. While the Pentagon has doubts about Iran 's actual ability to carry out on these threats, they are watching it nonetheless, of course. We're joined tonight by our Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski . Jim , good evening.

JIM MIKLASZEWSKI reporting: Good evening, Brian . Even with all the threats, Pentagon and military officials say it's highly unlikely that Iran would even try to close down the strait, even though -- even though they had a recent strong show of force. In a dramatic display of high seas -- high seas military operations, the Iranian navy conducted a 10-day exercise in the strait and fired off a short-range missile for good measure. Now according to military officials, they say there are apparently no signs, however, that the Iranian military is actually making preparations to make good on its threat. There are fears, however, that given the jitters on world markets, that even a small isolated incident such as harassment of those oil tankers coming out of the gulf could send world tensions and the price of oil through the roof. Brian :

WILLIAMS: All right. Jim Miklaszewski watching this at the Pentagon , thanks.