After reports said the United States deployed aircraft carrier Nimitz along with ships to the Gulf on Wednesday shortly before the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the US navy said: “there were no specific threats”.
“The return of Nimitz is centred on maintaining CENTCOM’s ability to remain postured and prepared to help preserve regional stability and security,” Rebecca Rebarich, spokesperson for US 5th fleet told AFP.
“There were no specific threats that triggered the return of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group,” she added. The comments by the US Navy comes amid tensions with Iran after the killing of Iran nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh which Iranian authorities blamed Isreal, a close ally of America.
The Pentagon had said earlier that the carrier group was stationed to ensure cover for the US troop withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan in mid-January which was ordered by President Donald Trump.
US carrier Nimitz had recently taken part in naval exercise with Indian, Japanese and Australian forces in the Arabian Sea as part of the Quad group. The US regularly sends aircraft carrier groups into the Gulf for exercises and to support coalition operations in Iraq and Syria.
Iran President Hassan Rouhani said his country would respond “at the proper time” claiming it was “the evil hands of global arrogance and the Zionist mercenaries,” referring to Israel as the country moved to put its embassies worldwide on high alert.
Fakhrizadeh spearheaded Iran’s nuclear effort and was known to be a central figure in a presentation by Israeli PM Netanyahu two year ago as he accused Iran of continuing to seek nuclear weapons.
“Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh,” Netanyahu had said during the presentation.