(RoyalPatriot.com)- The United States Navy appears to be preparing for a potential backlash from Iran after the murder of a nuclear scientist in the nation, though a United States Navy spokeswoman said on Saturday that the return of a US aircraft carrier into the Gulf region was not a result of “threats” from the Islamist nation.
On Friday, scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was murdered in an act blamed on Israel, but which has not yet been claimed by any country or organization.
The US Navy spokeswoman for the 5th Fleet, Rebecca Rebarich, said that a US aircraft that returned on Wednesday was not connected to the incident or any threats that may have come from Iran following the incident. Though the United States was not responsible for the killing, the fact it was blamed on Israel – a US ally – means the United States is likely to become a target for possible retaliation.
“There were no specific threats that triggered the return of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group,” Rebarich confirmed. “The return of Nimitz is centered on maintaining CENTCOM’s ability to remain postured and prepared to help preserve regional stability and security.”
The Pentagon also confirmed that the carrier will be used to provide combat support and air cover as U.S. military personnel are withdrawn from Afghanistan and Iraq. President Donald Trump recently ordered that thousands of American troops are withdrawn from the region, potentially bringing an end to America’s longest conflict.
Roughly 2,000 troops are expected to be withdrawn from Afghanistan and around 500 from Iraq. That will leave only 2,500 troops in each country – the lowest since the conflict began.
On Saturday, Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei promised “definitive punishment” for whoever was responsible for the killing of scientist Fakhrizadeh, who led the country’s disbanded military nuclear program.
Following the killing, images of the scientist were spread all over the Iranian press, after years of remaining relatively unknown. The widow of Fakhrizadeh also appeared on Iranian state television, demanding revenge against Israel for his killing, despite Israel not claiming the assassination.
Iranian officials assume that Israel was responsible for the killing as the attack bares similarities to other ambush assassinations performed by the nation in the past.