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Iran wants Persian Gulf restrictions

TEHRAN, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Iran's Parliament was preparing legislation Wednesday requiring all foreign warships to obtain the Iranian navy's permission to enter the Persian Gulf.

The bill, obtained by the semiofficial Fars News Agency, came a day after Iran's armed forces commander warned the USS John C. Stennis, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, not to return to the gulf, The Washington Post reported.

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"If the military vessels and warships of any country want to pass via the Strait of Hormuz without coordination and permission of Iran's navy forces, they should be stopped by the Iranian armed forces," Fars quoted lawmaker Nader Qazipour as saying.

Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi reiterated Iran's stance that "transnational forces" are not welcome in the region, adding Iran is willing to sponsor joint military exercises with its neighbors. The news agency said the U.S. aircraft carrier departed while being "chased by Iranian warships."

Iran's actions drove up oil prices and unnerved commodities markets Tuesday, the Post said.

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