Pentagon orders USS Nimitz aircraft carrier to remain in Middle East

5 January 2021 (Last Updated January 6th, 2021 17:06)

US aircraft carrier USS Nimitz would reportedly remain in the Middle East waters due to threats from Iran, as directed by President Donald Trump to acting Defence Secretary Christopher Miller.

Pentagon orders USS Nimitz aircraft carrier to remain in Middle East
USS Nimitz has conducted Passex with the Indian Navy off the coast of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Credit: US Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Matthew R. White.

US Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller has issued a statement confirming that the USS Nimitz nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and its carrier strike group will remain in the Middle East.

USS Nimitz was supposed to return home after a nine-month deployment with plans to prepare it for its next deployment.

However, the decision to bring the US carrier home was reversed following threats from Iran.

The tensions between Washington and Tehran come around the anniversary of the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.

Miller said: “Due to the recent threats issued by Iranian leaders against President Trump and other US Government officials, I have ordered the USS Nimitz to halt its routine redeployment.

“The USS Nimitz will now remain on station in the US Central Command area of operations.

“No one should doubt the resolve of the United States of America.”

US Navy’s US Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesman captain Bill Urban said a rocket attack on the green zone in Iraq damaged buildings in the US Embassy compound on 20 December.

The command stated that the attack “was almost certainly conducted by an Iranian-backed Rogue Militia Group”.

Meanwhile, the US conducted three bomber deployments into CENTCOM’s area of operation in the last more than 45 days.

On 30 December, the command announced that B-52 strategic long-range heavy bombers “made a deliberate appearance in the Middle East”.

In July last year, the US Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) conducted a passing exercise (Passex) with the Indian Navy.