BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Two B-52s from Barksdale Air Force Base took off Tuesday headed for the Middle East in response to what the White House called a “credible” Iranian attack plan on Americans or U.S. allies in the region.
The two B-52H Stratofortresses assigned to the 2nd Bomb Wing are part of a Bomber Task Force the Pentagon is deploying to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility in order to defend U.S. interests in the region.
The U.S. has also dispatched an aircraft carrier group to the Persian Gulf ahead of schedule over what it described as a new threat from Tehran.
National security adviser John Bolton said Sunday night the U.S. was deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the Middle East, intending to send a message that “unrelenting force” will meet any attack on American forces or allies.
“The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or regular Iranian forces,” Bolton said.
The threat from Tehran comes as the Trump administration wages a campaign of intensifying pressure against Iran and nearly a year after it withdrew from an Obama-era nuclear deal with Tehran.
Iran threatened Wednesday to enrich its uranium stockpile closer to weapons-grade levels in 60 days if world powers fail to negotiate new terms for its 2015 nuclear deal.