US flies B-52 bombers in latest warning to Iran
Mission sought to display US military's 'ability to deploy airpower anywhere in the world,' Central Command says
The US carried out its third B-52 bomber flyover above the Persian Gulf this year in what the Pentagon is billing as a "defensive” operation.
Central Command said the "long-range, short-duration defensive mission," sought to display the US military's "ability to deploy airpower anywhere in the world to deter potential aggression and showcase the U.S. commitment to regional security."
As it has for the previous two missions, the command did not specify whom the flight was geared at deterring, but tensions have been exceptionally high with Tehran since former US President Donald Trump embarked early on in his presidency on his "maximum pressure" campaign aimed at forcing Iran back to nuclear negotiations.
The campaign failed to do that and instead prompted Iran to take steps away from its obligations under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. While Trump left office Jan. 20, US President Joe Biden has expressed his intent to rejoin the nuclear deal, though it is unclear how that would happen given Iran's retaliatory steps, the grave state of relations and opposition among some members of Congress.
Israel, a vocal critic of the agreement that has urged the US to take a tough line against Iran, was added to Central Command's area of responsibility in the waning days of the Trump administration. Israel previously had been a part of European Command.
While it was the third this year, Wednesday's heavy bomber flyover was the sixth since they began in November ahead of the anniversary of Trump administration's assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani last January.
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