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WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is preparing to send two of its aircraft carriers back through the Strait of Hormuz and into the Persian Gulf in defiance of Iran’s demand to stay away, and has sent a letter warning Iran of a “red line” against attempts to block the Strait, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

But a lot of the wind has escaped the letter’s sails because it also seeks direct talks with the Islamic republic.

Analysts say that Iran’s timing to leak information about an appeal for direct talks from Washington is designed to give Tehran an advantage in its posturing with the other countries in the Middle East, now that U.S. troops have left Iraq and the U.S. has a vastly diminished military presence in the region.

Just having such a letter from Washington also gives Tehran a psychological boost among its Arab neighbors.

“Tehran wants to convey to its adversaries that accommodating Iran is in their best interest,” according to the open intelligence group Stratfor. “The best way for Iran to get this message across is to highlight the threat Tehran can pose to the Strait of Hormuz.”

To underscore its emboldened stance, Tehran has been conducting some 10 days of military exercises in the Gulf and is planning another set of similar exercises – just to keep up that display to the region’s Arab countries. Iran’s neighbors, meanwhile, are rushing to purchase new U.S. military arms, fearing a potential conflict with Iran.

When the Obama administration first sent the letter last week to Tehran through a number of channels, there was a conflict as to whether or not Washington actually had called for talks. There was an initial denial, but now U.S. officials are admitting that Washington has proposed opening discussions.

Those discussions, if they come off, would occur at a low level and progress upward depending on their success at each stage.

Informed sources reason that Tehran indeed may hold the upper hand for now in threatening to close down the Strait of Hormuz, even if it is for a short time. In fact, a senior Iranian military commander has warned that the Iranian navy’s submarines are in a position to ambush any U.S. aircraft carriers that may return to the Persian Gulf. The U.S.S. Carl Vincent is returning, and it will be joined by the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln and its task force group of ships.

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