The Pentagon has deployed the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier in the Gulf in recent days, ensuring that this return was not caused by “any threat” after the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist, but rather to compensate for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
“No specific threat has caused the return of the Nimitz carrier strike group,” Commander Rebecca Rebarich, spokeswoman for the 5th Fleet covering the Middle East, said on Saturday.
The presence of the aircraft carrier in the Gulf is therefore not linked to the assassination on Friday of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a senior Iranian scientist working in the nuclear sector, according to this official.
“The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz returned to the (area of) the 5th Fleet on November 25,” she also said.
The Nimitz had crossed in September in the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic passage that Iran regularly threatens to block, before heading towards the Pacific.
In a separate statement, the Pentagon linked this deployment to “the reduction in the number of American soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan” announced on November 18 by the new acting Minister of Defense, Christopher Miller.
About 2,000 military personnel will withdraw from Afghanistan by January 15, and another 500 will leave Iraq leaving only 2,500 troops in each country.
“The US Department of Defense will defend the security of its forces as they continue to protect Americans and our interests abroad,” the Pentagon statement said.
“During this change of posture, the ministry considered it prudent to have additional defense capabilities in the region to respond to any eventuality,” he adds.