US, Iran beef up military activity in Gulf ahead of Soleimani's first death anniversary

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, United States of America Published: Jan 02, 2021, 03.08 PM(IST)

US Iran ties Photograph:( Reuters )

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According to a report in CNN, Iran has increased its maritime presence in the Persian Gulf in the last two days and is also moving short-range ballistic missiles into neighbouring Iraq.

The United States and Iran have ratcheted up military activity in the Middle-East ahead of the first death anniversary of slain Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. 

According to a report in CNN, Iran has increased its maritime presence in the Persian Gulf in the last two days and is also moving short-range ballistic missiles into neighbouring Iraq.

This comes a day after Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Trump administration of fabricating a reason to start a war with Iran -- and less than three weeks before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

The US has repeatedly blamed rocket attacks on its embassy in Iraq's highly fortified Green Zone on Iranian proxies. 

US President Donald Trump, who reportedly asked for military options to deal with Iran in November, tweeted last week that he would "hold Iran responsible" should any Americans be killed.

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, to this end, charged Thursday that Trump is creating a pretext for war.

All this is playing out as Biden prepares to enact his own policies after his January 20 inauguration. 

The President-elect, he said, wants to ease Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign against Tehran, resume engagement and return to the Iran nuclear deal.

The relations between the two countries soured after the Trump administration withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018. The US killing Qassem Solaimani in a drone strike last year in January added fuel to the fire.

Tehran then attacked two American bases in Iraq a few days later.

Iran on December 31 had appealed to the United Nations Security Council to stop the US from conducting military activities in the Middle-East after reports emerged that Washington had sent bombers and aircraft carriers to the Gulf. 

Meanwhile, Soleimani's successor on Friday marked the death of the former Quds Force commander's death by pledging that "those who took part in this assassination and crime will not be safe on earth."

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