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Iran Accuses U

October 14, 1997

Iran Accuses U.S. Destroyer and Plane of Spying on Iranian Military in Persian Gulf, Warns Ship and Jet To Leave Area

The USS Kincaide and an S-3 reconnaissance plane withdrew today from the vicinity of the war games after the warnings, senior Iranian naval officers said, speaking on condition anonymity.

But a spokesman for the Navy’s 5th Fleet, which is headquartered in Bahrain, said he had ``no indication that either incident occurred.″

``The Kincaide has been in port in Bahrain since Monday afternoon,″ said Cmdr. Gordon Hume.

The Kincaide is a member of the seven-ship battle group that arrived in the Persian Gulf on Sunday. The S-3 is one of 75 aircraft operating from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, which heads the battle group.

Tensions in the region have been high since Tehran’s Sept. 29 air raids against two Iranian opposition bases inside Iraq. The raids violated a ``no-fly″ zone patrolled by the United States and its allies. Iraq scrambled two fighters to pursue the Iranian warplanes, further violating the zone.

In response, Washington ordered the Nimitz to skip a port call in Singapore and speed to the region two weeks ahead of schedule.

The Iranian exercises cover an area of 15,000 square miles and involve more than 100 vessels.

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