IRGC Deputy Commander Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami said today in Tehran that the return of U.S. aircraft carriers to the Persian Gulf was part of “routine activity.”
“U.S. warships and military forces have been in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East region for many years and their decision in relation to the dispatch of a new warship is not a new issue and it should be interpreted as part of their permanent presence,” Gen. Salami said [IRNA, 21 January].
On 3 January, the commander of Iran’s Army, Maj. Gen. Ataollah Salehi, had warned the US against sending a carrier through the Strait of Hormuz. Gen. Salehi had added that he was not in the habit of repeating his warning.
Today’s statement by IRGC deputy commander is backing away from the military commander’s unambiguous warning. Salami's statement came on the eve of traveling of a U.S. carrier back into the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz. On Thursday, the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln arrived in the Arabian Sea joining the USS Carl Vinson and returning the U.S. Naval standard two-carrier presence in the region. One of the two carriers is now posed to enter into the Persian Gulf.