Tehran has accused Washington of attempting to fabricate a reason to attack Iran, saying instead of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic at home, the United States is sending B-52 bombers to its region. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Thursday said that "Donald Trump and his cohorts" are wasting billions to send B-52s and entire fleet to Iran at a time when they should be focusing on fighting the COVID-19 disease in the US. Zarif, citing intelligence from Iraq, said that the US is trying to fabricate a pretext to attack Iran, adding Tehran would defend itself "openly and directly".
Instead of fighting Covid in US, @realDonaldTrump & cohorts waste billions to fly B52s & send armadas to OUR region— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) December 31, 2020
Intelligence from Iraq indicate plot to FABRICATE pretext for war.
Iran doesn't seek war but will OPENLY & DIRECTLY defend its people, security & vital interests.
According to reports, the United States had sent nuclear-capable B-52s to the Middle-East along with the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier, which was patrolling the Gulf waters since November. On Thursday, however, the Pentagon has directed that the USS Nimitz will transit directly home to complete a nearly 10-month deployment. Zarif's remarks come ahead of the first death anniversary of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by the United States in a drone strike in January 2020.
The Trump administration had ordered a strike on Soleimani on January 3 last year, killing the Iranian military general in Iraq's Baghdad region. Iran in retaliation fired rockets on two American bases in Iraq on January 8. The tensions between the two nations also resulted in the downing of a civilian aircraft killing 176 passengers onboard. The Iranian air defence unit, which was on high-alert after attacking US bases, mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian aircraft, thinking its a hostile object.
Days earlier, Trump had said the US will hold Iran responsible for any attack on its nationals or assets in Iraq. This came after the US embassy in Iraq's highly fortified Green Zone was hit by rockets. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had blamed Iran and its proxies for the attack that killed at least one Iraqi civilian and damaged several properties. Zarif also issued a warning on Twitter, saying Trump should drop all plans of "adventurism" before leaving the White House if he has any.