The fourth time since November the US has deployed long-range bombers to the airspace around Iran.
Dave DeCamp / AntiWar.com
(January 7, 2021) — A Pentagon official told Fox News that the US again deployed B-52 bombers to the Middle East, ratcheting up tensions with Iran. The provocative flight marks the fourth time since November that the US sent long-range bombers to the region to threaten Iran.
The official said two B-52 bombers flew a 36-hour, non-stop mission from Minot Air Base in North Dakota to the Persian Gulf and back. A similar mission from Minot was announced on December 30th.
The frequent B-52 flights started in November, after a report surfaced in the media that said President Trump reviewed options to attack an Iranian nuclear site. Trump considered the strike after minor Iranian violations of the 2015 nuclear deal were reported, an agreement the US first violated in 2018.
The latest flight comes after Iran confirmed it was starting to enrich uranium up to 20 percent for its civilian nuclear program. The increased enrichment was a response to the assassination of prominent Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was killed in an apparent Israeli plot.
In recent weeks, the US has also announced the transit of a nuclear-powered submarine through the Strait of Hormuz and decided to keep the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the region, citing Iranian “threats.”
With the incoming Biden administration expected to return to diplomacy with Tehran, the Iranians have no reason to provoke the US into a military confrontation in the coming weeks.
US Deploys B-52 Bombers to Middle East in Message to Iran
The maneuver marks the third time since November that the US flew long-range bombers into the region
US Central Command said in a statement that two B-52s left from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota on Tuesday morning and flew a non-stop 30-hour mission to the region. The long-range bombers flew over the Persian Gulf, near Iran’s coast.
The provocative maneuver comes at a time of heightened tensions, with both the US and Israel constantly hyping the threat of a potential Iranian attack. With the upcoming anniversary of the US assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, an unnamed US official told Fox News that Iran wants to “avenge the killing.”
The unnamed official said the US is “seeing planning” for “complex attacks” that would require “Iranian assistance in order to be pulled off.” One country the anonymous source said an attack was possible was Iraq, where the US embassy in Baghdad was recently targeted in a rocket attack.
President Trump blamed the Baghdad attack on Iran, but Tehran denied having any role. Iran has every reason to avoid a military confrontation with the US before President Trump leaves office and has even urged its allies in Iraq not to fire on US forces. But some Iraqi militias have rejected the Iranian warning, and there are plenty of factions inside Iraq that have their own reasons to attack the US.
Since the killing of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in an apparent Israeli plot, Israel’s military has also been warning of Iranian attacks. Like the US, the Israelis are poised to blame any attack in the region on Iran.
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