U.S. Sends Nuclear Submarine And Guided-Missile Destroyers To Persian Gulf

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U.S. Sends Nuclear Submarine And Guided-Missile Destroyers To Persian Gulf

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On December 21st, US Central Command (CENTCOM) head General Kenneth McKenzie warned that Iran shouldn’t retaliate in relation to the upcoming anniversary of the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani.

The anniversary is coming on January 3rd.

“We are prepared to defend ourselves, our friends and partners in the region, and we’re prepared to react if necessary,” McKenzie said.

He was touring the region weeks before the anniversary of the January 3, 2020 killing of Soleimani by a US drone strike near the Baghdad airport.

“My assessment is we are in a very good position and we’ll be prepared for anything the Iranians or their proxies acting for them might choose to do,” McKenzie, a four-star marine general, told a small group of journalists in a telephone interview from an undisclosed location in the region.

McKenzie said he had also gone to Syria to meet with American forces deployed in the small southern base at Al-Tanf, near the border with Jordan and Iraq.

Just days earlier, General Mark Milley, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Afghanistan. His locations were kept entirely secret.

He also mentioned that the US was concerned by a potential Iranian retaliation for Soleimani’s assassination.

“I talk to my commanders about it every day and I think we will be ready,” McKenzie said.

Meanwhile, on December 20th, a volley of 8 rockets struck near the US Embassy in Baghdad, causing material damage and reportedly killing 1 Iraqi civilian.

“The United States strongly condemns the latest attack by Iran-backed militias on the International Zone in Baghdad,” Pompeo said in a statement. “We wish those hurt a speedy recovery.”

Iranian Foreign Minister spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, strongly condemned Pompeo’s statement, saying Iran’s embassy is also located in the International Zone.

“Iranian embassy is in the same area, attacking any diplomatic missions and residential areas is wrong and banned by international law,” Khatibzadeh said during a virtual press conference held in the Iranian capital Tehran on Monday and attended by local and international media representatives.

“The statement issued by American Secretary of State is suspicious. We strongly condemn the statement issued by the American Secretary of State,” Khatibzadeh added when answering a question by local Iranian media reporter.

The US is withdrawing troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, but it maintains that it is quite prepared and reinforced to deal with any situation.

The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz has been patrolling Gulf waters since late November, and two American B-52 bombers recently overflew the region in a demonstration of strength clearly aimed at Iran.

The US Navy nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine USS Georgia transited the Strait of Hormuz on December 21st. It was accompanied by two guided-missile destroyers.

“The nuclear-power Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Georgia (SSGN 729), along with the guided-missile cruisers USS Port Royal (CG 73) and USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), transited the Strait of Hormuz entering the Arabian Gulf, Dec. 21,” the Navy said in a statement using an alternative name for the Persian Gulf.

The USS Georgia is armed with4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes and 154 × BGM-109 Tomahawks in 22 groups of seven.

The tensions in the Middle East, once again, appear to be sitting at the boiling point, and there’s still a few weeks left until US President Donald Trump vacates the White House.

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