Reversing Decision, Trump Sends USS Nimitz Back to Middle East as Warning to Iran
A Sunday night decision to send a US aircraft carrier back to the Persian Gulf was directed by President Donald Trump, CNN reported on Monday, as a continued warning to Iran amid rising tensions with the United States and Israel.
Last week, Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller had ordered the USS Nimitz out of the Middle East in what he said was a “de-escalatory” effort, but reversed that decision in an abrupt announcement Sunday evening.
“No one should doubt the resolve of the United States of America,” Miller said in a statement.
The ship’s arrival in the region came during a series of moves in recent weeks designed to warn Iran against any potential attack against American interests. The US also flew three bomber missions near Iran, and both American and Israeli submarines were spotted heading for the Gulf for the first time in years.
On Monday, Iranian media reported that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps seized a South Korean-flagged tanker in the body of water, in advance of a visit to Tehran by that country’s foreign minister.
“The South Korean tanker was stopped in the waters of the Persian Gulf environmental pollution and after neglecting warnings,” the IRGC Navy said, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.
Iran has demanded the release of $7 billion in funds frozen in South Korean banks due to US sanctions.