- The US has sent a lot of firepower – a carrier strike group, B-52 bombers, air-and-missile defense systems, and more – to the Middle East to counter Iran.
- US military and civilian leaders have said that they have intelligence indicating that Iran is planning an attack on US interests.
- As US military assets started making their way into the region, Iranian military leaders began threatening them, taunting the US ships and aircraft as “targets.”
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As US troops and weaponry pour into the Middle East to counter Iran with threats of “unrelenting force,” Iran warns that US forces are “targets,” not threats.
A little over a week ago, the White House, following approval from the Pentagon, announced that the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force composed of B-52 Stratofortress heavy, long-range bombers were being immediately deployed to US Central Command as a warning to Iran, which the US believed might be planning an attack on US interests.
The Pentagon announced Friday that additional assets, including an amphibious assault vessel and an air-and-missile defense battery, were also being sent into the region. The US has said that it will respond to any Iranian attack with “unrelenting force.”
- U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Gardner
Iranian military leadership pushed back over the weekend.
On Saturday, Yadollah Javani, the deputy head of political affairs of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, said that the US “wouldn’t dare to launch military action against us.” His comments came shortly after Ayatollah Tabatabai-Nejad, a high-ranking cleric in the Iranian government, warned that US forces will face “dozens of missiles.”
Another IRGC commander followed suit Sunday.
“An aircraft carrier that has at least 40 to 50 planes on it and 6,000 forces gathered within it was a serious threat for us in the past,” Amirali Hajizadeh said. “But, now it is a target.”
“If (the Americans) make a move, we will hit them in the head,” he added.
Iran’s state media released an animated video back in February showing one of Iran’s Ghadir-class submarines sinking an American aircraft carrier. Such an aggressive act, the success of which is far from guaranteed, would be a bold and dangerous move for Iran.
“The decision to go after an aircraft carrier, short of the deployment of nuclear weapons, is the decision that a foreign power would take with the most reticence,” Bryan McGrath, an influential naval consultant, previously told Business Insider. “The other guy knows that if that is their target, the wrath of God will come down on them.”