The U.S. has denied that its recent aggressive aircraft carrier strike group movement is related to Iran, while tensions with the country are at a boiling point.
The Pentagon is denying that there is a direct link between the arrival of two carrier strike groups into the Arabian Sea and recent events in Iran. In the last week a scientist was killed and an American was sentenced to death for spying.
“I don’t want to leave anybody with the impression that we’re somehow [speeding] two carriers over there because we’re concerned about what happened, you know, today in Iran. It’s just not the case,” said a spokesperson for the Pentagon.
Military officials have also claimed that the arrival of the USS Carl Vinson in Arabian Sea was to replace the USS John Stennis, according to Reuters.
The Stennis was scheduled to return to San Diego, but the Pentagon did not say that happened. It remains in the Gulf area and will be joined by a third carrier strike group.
The USS Abraham Lincoln carrier group is scheduled to join the Vinson Tuesday after completing a port visit to Thailand.
Military officials say that is not unusual to have to have two carriers in the Arabian Sea at the same time. They indicate that there had been two carriers in the Gulf region at least twice in the past 18 months.
One carrier strike group consists of: one air aircraft carrier; two anti aircraft ships equipped with Tomahawk missiles; up to two anti-submarine destroyers; up to two submarines; and a combination ammunition supply and oil ships, according to Business Insider.
Although the Pentagon denies a direct relation to events involving Iran, the timing suggests otherwise.
Over the past week, Iran has started an underground uranium enrichment plant, an alleged American spy has been sentenced to death, and Iran is blaming the U.S. and Israel for an assassinating a nuclear scientist, according to the Daily Mail.
A nuclear scientist was reportedly blown up when two men on motorcycles attached a bomb to his car. Israel has declined to comment on the killing.
In the meantime, the U.S. has stepped up efforts to block Iran’s oil exports as part of sanctions for their nuclear program. Iran previously threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, which is the world’s most important oil shipping lane, if the U.S. and Europe continue the sanctions.
The U.S. military has said that it will halt any blockade of the strategic strait.
The combination of three carrier strike groups could have up to 24 vessels among them and the U.S. is flying 24-hour drone missions every three days over the strait and the Gulf, along with P-3 surveillance planes, according to Business Insider.