US aircraft carrier to remain in Middle East: Pentagon

Washington, Jan 4 : The Pentagon said that US aircraft carrier USS Nimitz would remain in the Middle East waters due to “threats from Iran”, reversing a previous decision to order the warship to return home.

“Due to the recent threats issued by Iranian leaders against President (Donald) Trump and other US government officials, I have ordered the USS Nimitz to halt its routine redeployment,” Xinhua news agency quoted Acting Defence Secretary Chris Miller as saying in a statement late Sunday night.

“The USS Nimitz will now remain on station in the US Central Command area of operations. No one should doubt the resolve of the United States of America,” Miller added in the statement.

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The statement was contrary to a decision made by the Acting Defence Secretary just three days ago, in which he ordered the aircraft carrier to transit directly home to complete a nearly 10-month deployment.

The latest move also came Iran marked the the first death anniversary of former Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed on January 3. 2020, in an American airstrike near the Baghdad International Aiport.

The drone strike triggered an escalated regional conflict between Iran and the US.

The year-long tensions were reignited recently as Washington and Tehran were escalating a war of words over a rocket attack targeting the US Embassy compound in Baghdad on December 20, 2020.

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President Trump blamed the attack on Iran, but Tehran denied the allegation.

On December 30, 2020, the US military sent two B-52H strategic bombers to the region as a show of force.

“Instead of fighting Covid in US, @realDonaldTrump & cohorts waste billions to fly B52s & send armadas to our region,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted in response.

“Iran doesn’t seek war but will openly & directly defend its people, security & vital interests,” he added.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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