The U.S. decided Monday (local time) to send six B-52 bombers to the Indian Ocean and dispatching 4,500 additional troops to the Middle East as the possibility of military conflicts with Iran is growing. The Iranian government criticized the U.S. citing the shootdown by the USS Vincennes of Iran Air flight 655, which killed the plane’s 290 civilian passengers in July 1988.
CNN and other news outlets reported that the U.S. Air Force was sending six B-52 Stratofortress long-range bombers to Diego Garcia, a secretive military outpost in the Indian Ocean instead of Al Udeid in Qatar, the largest air base in the Middle East because it is out of each of Iran’s longest range missiles and unmanned air vehicles. The 4,500 troops will be dispatched to the Mediterranean on the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan to prepare for attacks from Iranian forces.
“Those who refer to the number 52 should also remember the number 290,” said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani through his Twitter account. “Never threaten the Iranian nation.” He was standing toe-to-toe against U.S. President Donald Trump who said the U.S. government had targeted 52 Iranian sites for retaliation representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran for 444 days from November 1979. Back then, the U.S. shoot down an Iranian passenger flight IR-655, mistakenly identifying it as an air force plane.
The Washington Post reported on the day that the Trump administration has begun drafting sanctions against Iraq, which has been demanding withdrawal of the U.S. troops. President Trump threatened to impose unprecedented sanctions against Iraq after its parliament called on U.S. troops to leave the country. Iraq’s Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said Iraq will turn into a new Vietnam if U.S. troops do not leave the country.
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