Amid growing speculation that the outgoing Donald Trump administration could rush through policies in external affairs that might create challenges for the succeeding administration of Joe Biden in the Pentagon has been found to be deploying a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf. On Friday, CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reported on Twitter that USS Nimitz was being moved back into the geostrategic Persian Gulf region along with two other war vessels to give combat support and air cover as American troops withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan by January 15 under the incumbent president’s order.
Decision to deploy warships taken before Iran scientist’s killing
While analysts were wondering whether the decision to deploy the warships was related to the assassination of Iran’s top scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, who Israel called the father of Iran’s nuclear program, Starr said the decision was taken before the news of the assassination came. She though cited a US official to say the Pentagon’s move will send an “increased deterrence message” to the Middle-Eastern nation. The US and Iran have been at loggerheads in the Trump years, particularly after the president pulled the US out of the multilateral nuclear deal with Iran which was signed in the times of Barack Obama administration.
A third post on the Twitter thread by Starr said: “The movement puts increased American military firepower and thousands of personnel into the region through the end of the Trump Administration. It may be up to President-elect Joe Biden to decide when to withdraw them.”
Recently, Trump was so upset with the report of the IAEA that Iran’s uranium stockpiling was going on at an alarming rate and he wanted to launch a military strike against the country’s biggest nuclear facility. He was eventually convinced by some of his top aides, including Vice President Mike Pence, to give up the plan which could ignite a fire in no time. Israel reportedly has been pushing the outgoing administration to deliver a heavy blow to Iran’s nuclear program by bombing its key reactors. Saudi Arabia, another major enemy of Iran in the region, is not willing to follow that path, Middle East Eye reported on Friday, November 27.
While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who wanted to pursue the aggressive policy on Iran, demanded the same during a trilateral meeting in Neom, Saudi Arabia, involving Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi leader was reluctant because of two reasons. One, the recent strikes on Saudi oil targets that are believed to have been conducted by forces sympathetic towards Tehran. Second, his doubts that the next US president, Joe Biden, will first try to de-escalate tensions in the Gulf region and strike a deal with Iran.
Tehran, meanwhile, accused Israel of trying to provoke a war by killing Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi and according to one report, one American official along with a couple of other intelligence agents confirmed that Israel was behind the attack.
Above-normal activity of US Air Force and State Department military transport and combat aircraft was observed in Iraq and the Persian Gulf region.