Pentagon says USS Nimitz to stay in Persian Gulf

TEHRAN, Jan. 04 (MNA) – The United States has scrapped plans to move one of its aircraft carriers out of the West Asia region under the pretext of what it describes as threats from Iran.

The acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller said, "Due to the recent threats issued by Iranian leaders against President Trump and other US government officials, I have ordered the USS Nimitz to halt its routine redeployment.”

“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 said in a statement, published late on Sunday, which marked the first anniversary of the assassination of top Iranian commander, Lt. General Ghasem Soleimani, by the US terrorists.

This is while, earlier this month Pentagon abruptly recalled home its Nimitz aircraft carrier from the West Asia region amid opposition by top military advisers, marking a reversal of a major show-of-force strategy aimed at deterring Iran from taking retaliatory action for the US terror assassination of General Soleimani.

Miller had suggested that the move was part of a “de-escalatory” signal to Iran in efforts to avert stumbling into a crisis in the final days of Donald Trump’s presidency, The New York Times reported Friday, citing military officials, further pointing to “American intelligence reports” claiming that Iran and its allies may be preparing to attack US targets “as early as this weekend” – marking the anniversary of the terror assassination -- to avenge Gen. Soleimani’s loss.

The US has maintained a near-continuous aircraft carrier presence in the Persian Gulf region since the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier was deployed there in May 2019 amid fears that Iran was planning retaliatory attacks.

The Nimitz deployed from the US in April and was due to return before the end of the year. In early December, its planned return was postponed, in part out of persisting fear about potential Iranian retaliatory actions, and more recently it was ordered to provide support off the coast of Somalia for the movement of American forces out of the country.

MNA/SPUTNIK

News Code 168037

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