Amid tensions in Iran, US asks aircraft carrier to move out of Middle East

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Pentagon has decided to send the only naval aircraft carrier operating in the Middle East, a move that would reduce US firepower in the region amid growing tensions with Iran.

A day after the decision was announced Thursday by Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, Air Force B-52 bombers flew from the United States to the Persian Gulf in a show of non-stop force, which military officials said Iran The intention was to carry out attacks against the US military or interests.

Sending the aircraft carrier, USS Nimitz, home to the US West Coast would be difficult with the idea that a demonstration of force is necessary to stop Iran. This may reflect a split within the defense establishment as to whether Iran has threatened to strike during the disastrous days of the Trump administration.

Announcing the decision to send Nimitz home, Miller made no mention of Iran.

Earlier this week, a US military official close to the situation told reporters that the US had detected signs that Iran had prepared for possible attacks on the US or allied targets in Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East Are kept. The officer on Wednesday briefly explained the reason for sending two B-52 bombers from the US to overflow into the bay, which the officer spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an internal assessment.

President Donald Trump recently cited “nonsense” that Iran could strike. A few days after the December 20 rocket attack on the US embassy compound in Baghdad by Iranian-backed Shiite militia groups, Trump tweeted that Iran was on notice.

“Some favorable health advice for Iran: If an American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think on it,” Trump wrote on 23 December. “We hear of additional attacks against Americans in Iraq,” he said.

US concerns are bound for the January 3 anniversary of the US airstrike that killed Iran’s top commander, General Qasam Soleimani. Iran initially avenged a ballistic missile attack at a military base in neighboring Iraq, causing dozens of brain injuries but no deaths among US troops. But US officials worry that Iran plans further retaliation.

The escalation capability could cause widespread war, with the US seeking to prevent Iran from additional attacks. The political transition to a Biden administration in Washington has further complicated strategic calculations on both sides that could find new avenues to deal with Iran. President-elect Joe Biden, for example, has stated that he hopes to return to the US on a 2015 agreement with world powers in which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

The US maintains an almost constant aircraft carrier presence in the Persian Gulf region, as the USS Abraham Lincoln was dispatched in May 2019 with concerns that Iran is considering attacking US interests in the region. The US also dispatched additional land-based attack planes and reestablished military presence in Saudi Arabia.

Nimitz deployed from the US in April and was due to return before the end of the year. In early December, in part from concerns about potential Iranian threats, its planned return was postponed, and it was recently ordered to provide support for the movement of US forces out of the country off the coast of Somalia Was.


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