Amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran on the eve of the anniversary of the US-ordered assassination of Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani on January 3, 2019.
Air Force B-52 bombers flew nonstop from the USA to the Persian Gulf in a show of force ostensibly aimed at cautioning Iran against carrying out revenge attacks.
The US regime seated in Washington is to send its only Navy aircraft carrier operating in the Middle East to the Persian Gulf.
The Bremerton-based aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, deployed in April from Puget Sound, was on schedule to return before the end of the year. However, in early December, return was postponed, purportedly in part over concerns about potential Iranian threats.
More recently the 1,092-foot-long USS Nimitz and its carrier strike group had been providing operational and close-air support off the coast of Somalia as part of Joint Task Force-Quartz and Operation Octave Quartz as US troops are relocated from Somalia to other areas of Africa.
Washington has sought to maintain an almost continuous aircraft carrier presence in the Persian Gulf region. The USS Abraham Lincoln was deployed in May 2019 amid concerns that Iran was mulling attacking US Zionist interests in the region.
Recent US concerns have been linked with the approaching one-year anniversary of the American drone airstrike that killed Iran’s top commander, General Qasem Soleimani.
General Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a top Baghdad-allied Shi’ite freedom fighter militia commander, were killed after their convoy was struck by a US drone outside Baghdad International Airport.
Iran retaliated by launching over a dozen ballistic missiles at two US bases in Iraq on 8 January, causing dozens of brain concussion injuries but no deaths among American troops.
Iranian officials have repeatedly threatened further attacks, with an advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei referring to the missile attack as an “initial slap” of revenge.
The developments come amidst the political transition in Washington, as sitting president Donald Trump supposed to be preparing to hand over the reigns of his power.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point Middle East News 2021.