As Iran celebrates election, US forces in Mideast on 'alert'
As Washington monitors reports of 'irregularities' in Iran's historic presidential election, US military forces in the region are reportedly on alert after the hotly- contested vote sparked protests in the country, Press TV reported.
Informed US officials told CCN that a highly classified message has been sent to military commanders in the Persian Gulf, urging them to avoid any undue encounter with Iranian military forces.
The report said that any unnecessary encounter could escalate in the face of the protests in capital Tehran, which sparked following the landslide victory of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, advising forces to behave responsibly.
"We are watching, and ensuring disciplined restraint on the part of our naval forces," CNN quoted one official as saying Sunday.
The report said both sources had said the alert level has not been raised substantially.
The report comes after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Saturday that the White House was monitoring the election closely over reports of "irregularities" in the results -- showing a huge margin over Ahmadinejad's chief rival, Mir-Hossein Mousavi.
"We obviously hope that the outcome reflects the genuine will and desire of the Iranian people," Clinton said during a visit to Canada.