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Iran's navy aims to sail off US shores soon

Jan. 1, 2012: In this image made available by the Iranian Students News Agency, an Iranian navy vessel launches a missile during a drill at the sea of Oman.AP

The head of Iran's navy says the country aims to put its warships in international waters off the U.S. coast "in the next few years."

The comments Tuesday from Admiral Habibollah Sayyari on state TV are part of Iran's response to Washington's beefed up naval presence in the Persian Gulf.

The U.S. Navy's 5th fleet is based in Bahrain -- across the gulf from Iran -- and the U.S. plans maritime war games later this month.

Iran has made similar claims in the past that its ships could soon sail into international waters off the U.S. coast.

Tehran and Washington have been at odds over Tehran's nuclear ambitions that the West suspects it has aimed at weapons. Iran denies the charge, and the country's president said the West has launched an "all-out ... war" against Iran by imposing oil and banking sanctions on his country.

The West's sanctions are meant to press Iran to stop enriching uranium. 

Speaking on a live TV talk show Tuesday, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the West's sanctions have created barriers in oil sales and money transfers.

Ahmadinejad said his administration is removing the barriers, pledging that the enemies of Iran would not achieve their goals.

In July, the European Union banned oil imports from Iran, just after the U.S. enacted tough sanctions against Iran's central bank. The sanctions have severely harmed Iran's economy.

Iran relies on crude export for some 80 percent of its foreign revenue.