US flies B-52 bomber over Middle East to ‘deter aggression’ amid Iran tensions
The US military said Wednesday it again flew a B-52 bomber over the Middle East “to deter potential aggression” amid tensions with Iran.
The B-52 flew nonstop from Louisiana’s Barksdale Air Force Base into the region earlier in the day. The plane went over both the Arabian Gulf and Saudi Arabia, according to flight-tracking data.
The US military’s Central Command later published images of the bomber flying alongside Royal Saudi Air Force F-15s.
.@usairforce B-52H crews conduct second Middle East presence patrol of 2021 as key part of CENTCOM’s defensive posture. @DeptofDefense @USAFCENT @TeamMinot @AirMobilityCmd @US_Stratcom #B52https://t.co/evxntC3GeH pic.twitter.com/or9tKq7cPE— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) January 17, 2021
While not mentioning Iran in its statement, Central Command said the flight was meant to “showcase the US commitment to regional security.”
The flights, the third-such operation this year, had become common in the last months of former President Donald Trump’s administration. Trump’s 2018 decision to unilaterally withdraw from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers sparked a series of escalating incidents in the region.
President Joe Biden has expressed a desire to return to the deal if Iran honors the deal’s limits on its nuclear program.