Iran: US military fly B-52 bomber over Middle East
B-52 bombers were spotted flying into the Middle East in what the US described as a “presence patrol” intended to send a signal to the country’s “adversaries”. The flight marks the fifth time in recent months that the US Air Force has flown missions over the region amid tensions between Tehran and Washington. This comes amid concerns among security experts that President Donald Trump may launch a “reckless” strike against Iran during his final days as US commander-in-chief.
Earlier reports in Israeli media claimed that two giant military aircraft were seen flying over Israel, sparking alarm.
US Central Command, which oversees American military operations in the region, later confirmed the mission.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif condemned the flight as an attempt to intimidate Tehran, before issuing a warning of war.
He tweeted: “While we have not started a war in over 200 years, we don’t shy from crushing aggressors.”
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The US bomber mission took place a day after two Iranian missiles exploded within 100 miles of a US aircraft carrier strike group in the northern Indian Ocean.
Over the weekend, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards fired a series of long-range ballistic missiles during Iran’s fourth large-scale military show of force in the past two weeks.
Guards commander Major General Hossein Salami said that the country’s military exercise was to prepare to “use long-range ballistic missiles against enemy warships, including aircraft carriers and warships”.
He added that the Iranian military can now strike moving targets in the ocean.
Donald Trump ‘may engage in warfare with Iran’ warns expert
Donald Trump will leave the office of the president on Wednesday when Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th US president.
However, the Trump administration’s “sabre-rattling and aggressive rhetoric” raises fears of military action against Iran before Joe Biden can even take office.
Danny Postel, from the Center for International and Area Studies at Northwestern University, added that: “Trump is a very wounded and very cornered animal in an end-game scenario.
“It may be the case that his most erratic, most reckless lashing out is yet to come.”
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Former Labour MP David Miliband charged President Trump and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of carrying out “diplomatic vandalism” in their final days of power.
On Friday, Mr Pompeo announced sanctions on companies in Iran, China and the United Arab Emirates for doing business with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.
These are the latest in a series of measures aimed at stepping up pressure on Tehran in the last days of President Trump’s administration.
President-elect Joe Biden has sought to calm tensions in the Middle East, insisting that the United States will rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal “if Iran resumes strict compliance”.
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