The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) sails in the Indian Ocean near Indonesia, February 3, 2005..
(photo credit: TIMOTHY SMITH/US NAVY/REUTERS)
Iran’s Fars News reported on Wednesday that the US has been forced to keep its USS Abraham Lincoln carrier outside of the narrow confines of the Persian Gulf due to Iran’s missile threat.
“The difficulty of facing military movements in the Persian Gulf and Iran’s deterrence is the reason the Lincoln Strike Group has stayed 450 miles from the area of tension outside the Strait of Hormuz,” the report said, because Iran’s missiles “are a real threat to the safety of US warships and the carrier.”
The US carrier is 300 km. off the coast of Oman, according to recent reports in US media. Iran’s media said that they had expected the carrier to journey to Bahrain but that it had not moved there yet.
Fars News claims that the US wanted to avoid escalation and that the absence of the carrier showed there was less chance of war. “The Pentagon has moved the Lincoln aircraft carrier off the waters of the Persian Gulf as it is difficult to defend this carrier in the smaller marine environment such as the Gulf,” Fars News reported. It claimed that a carrier could more easily confront threats such as submarines out in the ocean.
The decision to keep the vessel at sea was due to Iran’s missile capabilities and the ability of Iran’s missiles to strike up to 500 km. away. “This is the first time in history a US carrier approaches the Persian Gulf but does not dock at its base in Bahrain,” Fars said.
In February, Iran conducted a large naval drill in the Persian Gulf and near the Straits of Hormuz. This included the use of drones, missiles, anti-ship missiles, submarine launched cruise missiles and torpedoes. The Iranian navy is not particularly large, and the drill consisted of the submarine Fateh and a Sahand-class frigate.
In comments the same month, a former US official indicated Iran’s navy could be easily defeated if there was a conflict.
Iran was accused of sabotaging four oil tankers earlier this month off the coast of the UAE in the Gulf of Oman.
In a related development Wednesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei slammed America’s “Deal Of the Century” as doomed to failure, asserting that it would “never materialize.”
In his Eid al-Fitr address marking the end of Ramadan, Khamenei bashed Bahrain for hosting events relating to the US push for the Trump administration’s peace plan. He called the small Gulf state and its larger Saudi neighbor “treacherous Muslim states” that were working with the US “evil plot.”
This is typical language of the Iranian regime and its allies, especially Hezbollah. The speech dominated Iranian media, headlining Fars News and Tasnim in Farsi. Press TV put it on its home page in English.
The Ayatollah feels that distracting Iranians from other issues to condemn the US is the best policy, considering the tension with the US over the last month. However, the Iranian regime has seemingly bought into the concept of a “deal,” by spending so much time condemning it. If it felt that the deal had no chance of success, it wouldn’t invest so much time in dealing with it.
The speech began with references to the Quds Day marches and the importance that the Iranian nation puts on global issues. Khamenei said that the future generation was becoming more pious. “The spiritual reserves of the nation originate with the pure hearts of our youth and teens,” he said. He also urged Iranians to help victims of recent massive floods.
Then, after the pleasantries, he turned to the issue of “Palestine and the treacherous plot of the United States and its ‘Deal of the Century.’” He spoke about the betrayal of Islamic countries, referencing Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. “The Bahraini leaders have hosted and convened this summit with their weakness and anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic morale,” he said.
Obviously, Iran is concerned about the upcoming Bahrain meeting and knows it may illustrate that the Trump administration is making inroads. It wants to sabotage this at all costs – and rhetoric is one of its tools.
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