The U.S. military presence in the Middle East was dismissed Sunday as its “weakest in history” by a deputy commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
The semi-official news agency Fars Rear quoted Admiral Ali Fadavi, a deputy Guards commander, as making the accusation but failed to add any evidence to back his claim.
“The Americans have been present in the region since 1833 and they are now at their weakest in history in West Asia,” Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi is alleged to have said.
Tehran has previously described U.S. moves in the Middle East as “psychological warfare” and a “political game”designed to hurt the Iran people.
The White House announced two weeks ago it would send the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers into the Persian Gulf to counter Tehran. The Lincoln is now on its way to its new assignment, as Breitbart News reported.
The USS Abraham Lincoln is a Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Commissioned in 1989, it has berthing to carry over 6,000 officers and enlisted sailors. At 332 meters (1,092 feet), it is nearly as long as the Empire State Building is tall.
The carrier has a 4.5-acre flight deck that carries F-18 Super Hornet fighter jets, MH-60 Seahawk helicopters and other aircraft.
Despite the accumulation of American forces, a senior Revolutionary Guards commander said Wednesday the U.S. and its regional supporters will not attack Iran because of its “spirit of resistance.”
“If the criminal America and its Western and regional allies don’t dare carry out a face-to-face military attack against our country it is because of the spirit of resistance and sacrifice of the people and youth,” Major General Gholamali Rashid said, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.
In a Twitter message addressed to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani described the U.S. military deployment to the region a deliberate provocation.
“You @SecPompeo do not bring warships to our region and call it deterrence. That’s called provocation. It compels Iran to illustrate its own deterrence, which you call provocation. You see the cycle?” the adviser, Hesameddin Ashena, tweeted in English.
For its part, the U.S. military will continue to fly and sail wherever international law allowed.
“We stand ready with our allies and partners to ensure freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility,” Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman of U.S. Central Command, said.