The Department of Defense said late on Sunday that it has ordered the USS Nimitz, a nuclear-powered aircraft, to turn around following new threats and actions from Iran, which comes just several days after the carrier was ordered to return home after providing cover for U.S. forces that were returning home from the Middle East.
“The acting secretary of the defense, Christopher C. Miller, abruptly reversed his previous order to redeploy the Nimitz, which he had done over the objections of his top military advisers,” The New York Times reported. “The military had for weeks been engaged in a muscle-flexing strategy aimed at deterring Iran from attacking American personnel in the Persian Gulf.”
“Due to the recent threats issued by Iranian leaders against President Trump and other U.S. government officials, I have ordered the USS Nimitz to halt its routine redeployment,” Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller said in a statement. “The USS Nimitz will now remain on station in the U.S. Central Command area of operations. No one should doubt the resolve of the United States of America.”
The announcement comes after top Iranian officials suggested following the new year that the Islamic Republic of Iran may seek to assassinate President Donald Trump in retaliation for last year’s killing of Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force (IRGC-QF), a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.
Videos of the remarks by Ebrahim Raisi, head of Iran’s judiciary, and IRGC General Esmail Qaani, commander of the Qods Force, were posted online and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which tracks Islamic extremism, anti-Semitism and anti-American sentiment around the world.
“The (Americans) should wait for the hard revenge,” Raisi said on Jan. 1. “The beloved resistance forces will determine the place and the time. The Islamic nation knows at what point in time and where this revenge will be exacted. The enemy should know that its life will be very difficult from now on. The resistance movement will make the enemy’s life much more difficult, in revenge for the blood of the martyr Soleimani. One of the aspects of the hard revenge will be driving the Americans out of the region.”
“Punishing those who gave the order and those who committed the crime is another aspect of this hard revenge,” Raisi continued. “I am addressing the enemy. Let no one think that if someone holds the position of the U.S. President, yet he commits or orders a murder, he will be immune to the enforcement of law and justice and will remain on the sidelines. Never! Those who played a role in this assassination, in this crime, none of them will be safe anywhere on the globe. This is final. The steel willpower of the resistance movement will exact hard revenge from them.”
Qaani gave similar remarks, saying that those who were involved would not be safe anywhere and that Iran may find assassins to carry out attacks “even inside your own house.”
Trump sent Iran a stern warning late last year after several of their rockets were fired at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
“Our embassy in Baghdad got hit Sunday by several rockets. Three rockets failed to launch. Guess where they were from: IRAN. Now we hear chatter of additional attacks against Americans in Iraq,” Trump tweeted. “Some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over.”
…Some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2020