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Iran Backpedals, UK Stands and US Flexes

British PM Tony Blair offered proof that Iran had abducted 15 UK sailors and Royal Marines from Iraqi waters, despite Iran's claims otherwise. Britain also closed all bi-lateral communications between the UK and Iran until the matter is resolved.

Iran has been steadily backing down from its original bellicose statements, now saying that it will free the female sailor now held captive either today or tomorrow. Iran has also shifted its stance in saying that the British inspection team may have "entered into Iranian waters unintentionally." Britain still maintains the incident took place well within Iraqi waterways.

In a clear show of force, the U.S. Navy began concentrated exercises in the relatively confined Persian Gulf. The exercises include two aircraft carriers - the John C. Stennis and the Dwight D. Eisenhower - and over a dozen other US warships. The operations are an unmistakable message to Iran. "It was the first time that two carriers had conducted joint operations in the Gulf since 2003, the year the United States invaded Iraq."

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