May 23, 2007 3:00 AM

Tensions growing between U.S., Iran

As the United States and Iran prepare to hold talks on stabilizing Iraq, tensions between Tehran and Washington are ratcheting up again. The U.S. Navy on Wednesday began its largest war games off the Iranian coast since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, with two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers leading a flotilla of nine ships, dozens of combat aircraft and more than 2,100 Marines. As the air and sea exercises commenced, the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency reported that Iran is expanding its nuclear program which U.S. officials charge is aimed at developing nuclear weapons in defiance of U.N. Security Council demands that it suspend uranium enrichment. Iran also has stepped up arms shipments to insurgents battling American troops and the U.S.-backed governments in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. officials said. For the first time, Iran has begun supplying the Taliban in Afghanistan with explosively formed projectile bombs, which have been used to destroy U.S. armored vehicles in Iraq, the officials said.

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