WASHINGTON – The Pentagon announced on Thursday the withdrawal of the only Navy aircraft carrier that it still had deployed in the Middle East, a measure that confused some observers amid escalating tensions with Iran.
The decision comes at a time when Washington fears that Iran may launch an attack on US targets in Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the US assassination of the commander. of the Guardians of the Iranian Revolution, Qasem Soleimaní.
Acting US Defense Secretary Chris Miller made no mention of Iran when announcing in a statement the withdrawal of the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier, which had been deployed in the Middle East for nearly ten months.
“The secretary appreciates the hard work, commitment and flexibility of the more than 5,000 Sailors and Marines of the Nimitz Carrier Group, who provided air support to counter-terrorist operations in Iraq and Afghanistan,” among other missions, said in the note. Miller spokesperson, Jonathan Rath Hoffman.
The USS Nimitz also supported US troops deployed to Somalia, and its mission was scheduled to end this month, but was dragged on a few weeks ago due to tensions with Iran.
The decision to return it to the US west coast comes a day after a group of Air Force B-52 bombers flew directly from the country to the Persian Gulf in an attempt to dissuade Iran from launching any attack on American targets.
Outgoing US President Donald Trump said last week on Twitter that he had heard “rumors of additional attacks on Americans in Iraq,” and said that if any Americans were killed, he would hold “Iran responsible.”
Fears of an Iranian attack have to do with the first anniversary, on January 3, of the assassination by the US of the Iranian commander Soleimaní in a targeted bombing near Baghdad.
Although a week after the event the Iranian Revolutionary Guard already attacked a military base in Iraq with the presence of US troops with missiles, the Persian authorities have warned that this was only the beginning of their revenge.