In what was described as “presence patrols” by the US Central Command (CENTCOM), the US once again flew US B-52H Stratofortress bombers over the Middle East on Sunday. This manoeuvre has now been performed for the 5th time in recent months.
CENTCOM said that the manoeuvre was being performed as a key part of its “defensive posture.”
In response to the manoeuvre, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote in a tweet, “If your B-52H “Presence Patrols” are meant to intimidate or warn Iran, you should have spent those $billions on your taxpayers’ health.”
Earlier, the minister had claimed that “New intelligence from Iraq indicate that Israeli agent-provocateurs are plotting attacks against Americans—putting an outgoing Trump in a bind with a fake casus belli.”
With President-elect Joe Biden hoping to restore diplomatic relations with Tehran, pressure from key Middle Eastern allies (Israel and Saudi Arabia) may tempt President Trump to take action on Iran, according to Danny Postel, assistant director, Center for International and Area Studies, Northwestern University.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, he said, “Trump is a very wounded and very cornered animal in an end-game scenario. He’s got a few weeks left, and we know that he is capable of extremely erratic behaviour.”
President-elect Joe Biden also plans to re-join the Iran nuclear deal, an accord signed during the Obama administration which saw Iran reduce its nuclear enrichment in exchange for lifting international sanctions that had been placed on it.