The United States flew strategic bombers over the Persian Gulf on Wednesday for the second time this month, a show of force meant to deter Iran from attacking American or allied targets in the Middle East.
The former commander of IRGC Quds Force Lt. Gen. Qasem Soleimani and deputy Iraqi PMU Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were assassinated on January 3, 2020, in Iraq's Baghdad Airport by USA terrorist forces. Iran has called the missile attack it launched on USA bases in Iraq days after the killing merely the "initial slap" of "revenge".
"Iran doesn't seek war but will OPENLY & DIRECTLY defend its people, security & vital interests", Zarif said.
Masjedi claimed Iran does not want Iraq to be dragged into its conflict with the US, but Iranian and allied activities tell a different story. He tweeted on December 23, "Some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible".
The United States military suspects that an Iranian-linked attack on American personnel and interests in Iraq could be immanent as the one-year anniversary of Iranian terrorist leader Qassem Soleimani's death approaches.
Washington has repeatedly extended by 90 or 120 days a sanctions exemption to allow Baghdad to import Iranian energy, but in November it granted only a 45-day extension.
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"Trump will bear full responsibility for any adventurism on his way out", Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, wrote on Twitter Dec. 24.
Trump's apparent red line for a retaliatory strike is the death of an American in an attack by Iran or its regional proxies.
Previously operating in the Middle East, some U.S. officials said the move could be seen an attempt to reduce tensions in the region. The U.S. also sent additional land-based attack planes and reestablished a troop presence in Saudi Arabia. The officer cited indications that advanced weaponry has been flowing from Iran into Iraq recently and that Shiite militia leaders in Iraq may have met with officers of Iran's Quds force, previously commanded by Soleimani. The regime has accused the US of complicity, vowed vengeance and expanded its nuclear program in response.
Iran's state gas company said on Monday it had slashed supplies to neighbouring Iraq over arrears of more than $6 billion, after the Iraqi electricity ministry said the cuts placed Baghdad and other cities at risk of serious power shortages, Reuters reports. That flight was repeated this week, with two B-52s flying nonstop from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota and heading home Wednesday after cruising over the western side of the Gulf.
Top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in November, reportedly in an Israeli operation outside Tehran. Gen. Qasem Soleimani in a US cruise missile strike by the United States in Iraq. But U.S. officials are concerned that Iran might be planning further retaliation.
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Quoting Martin Luther King Jr, she added: "It was the music that we wanted playing when we started our lives together". The couple closed the podcast with the song This Little Light of Mine , which played at their wedding.