American B-52 nuke bombers fly over Middle East as Iran stages massive war games promising to ‘crush aggressors’

IRAN has promised to "crush its aggressors" after US B-52H Stratofortress bombers flew over the Middle East in a show of military strength.

The "presence patrol" mission took place just a day after two Iranian missiles reportedly landed within 100 miles of a US aircraft strike group in the northern Indian Ocean.

It is the fifth time in recent months the US has flown similar missions as tensions between Washington and Tehran continue to escalate.

The Boeing aircraft is capable of carrying 32,000kg (70,000 pounds) of weapons including nuclear bombs.

The successful mission came a day after the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps tested long-range missiles and drones against land and sea targets, Al Jazeera reports.

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Jadif Zarif slammed the military operation.

In a direct attack to outgoing US president Donald Trump, he tweeted: "If your B-52H 'Presence Patrols' are meant to intimidate or warn Iran, you should have spent those $billions on your taxpayers health.

"While we have not started a war in over 200 years, we don't shy from crushing aggressors. Just ask your BFFs who supported Saddam."

Bombers were spotted flying over Israeli airspace over the weekend, local media reports.

B-52 Stratofortress

B-52 Stratofortress planes are at the heart of the US military’s global strike capabilities.

  • Maiden flight – 1955
  • Cost – $106million
  • Number in service – 76 (18 in reserve)
  • Size – Wingspan: 56m, Length: 49m
  • Top speed – 650mph
  • Altitude – 50,00 ft
  • Payload – Up to 30 tonnes of bombs and mines
  • Missiles – AGM-84 Harpoon missiles, AGM-142 Raptor missiles and AGM-86C air-launched nuclear cruise missiles
  • Range – 8,000 miles
  • Defence –  Remote-controlled rear M61 Vulcan cannon

General Frank McKenzie, of Central Command, said the missions demonstrate the US' commitment to security in the Middle East.

He said: "Short-term deployments of strategic assets are an important part of our defensive posture in the region.

"The training opportunity and continued integration with regional partners improves readiness and delivers a clear and consistent message in the operational environment to both friends and potential adversaries, alike."

It comes just days after Tehran put on a dramatic display of its naval strength using cruise missiles and torpedoes to blow up ships in drills aimed at warning off "encroaching enemies".

Iran fired the cruise missiles and torpedoes as part of a naval drill in the Gulf of Oman, Press TV reported.

The country has been flexing its naval muscles this week, showcasing a pair of new warships during the two-day exercise, codenamed Naval Strength 99.

“The enemies should know that in the event of any violation and encroachment on the maritime borders of the Islamic Republic of Iran, they will be targeted with cruise missiles from the coast and the sea,” Admiral Kaviani warned.

In the run-up to the one year anniversary of the killing of commander Qassem Soleimani, Iran condemned Washington’s “military adventurism” and pledged “harsh revenge” for the general’s assassination.

Relations between Washington and Tehran have plunged to new lows as Trump has reportedly been mulling over whether he should attack Iran before Joe Biden takes over as president.

B-52 bombers were deployed after Soleimani's assassination in an airstrike in Iraq sparking fears of conflict in the Gulf.

And they were also sent to the region in May, 2019, when Iran shot down a US drone that flew too close to its airspace.

Trump was reportedly talked out of launching a strike on Iran's main nuclear site just days after he lost the US election.

The president asked about attacking Iran after inspectors had found a significant increase of activity at the nation's main nuclear site, reported The New York Times.

But advisers – including Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo – reportedly feared such attack could trigger a "broader conflict" in the Middle East.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported Iran's uranium stockpile was more than 12 times larger than the amount permitted under the now-axed nuclear deal.

US and Iran – a troubled history

  • Before the 1979 Iranian revolution, Iran was one of America's biggest allies in the Middle East and was led by the US-backed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.
  • However, since the seismic revolt, Iran has been led by murderous Islamic fundamentalists and tensions with Washington have remained ever since.
  • On November 4, 1979, the Iranian regime took 52 US diplomats hostage in response to President Carter’s administration allowing Iran’s deposed former leader into America.
  • The hostage crisis lasted for 444 days and also included a failed rescue mission which cost the lives of eight US soldiers.
  • In April 1980, the US ended diplomatic relations with Iran – a break which lasted for more than 30 years.
  • In April 1983, Washington blamed the Iranian-funded terror group Hezbollah for carrying out a bombing attack on the American embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.
  • The assault, carried out amid a brutal civil war in Lebanon, killed 17 Americans.
  • In November of that year, two truck bombs in Beirut killed 241 US peace keepers. The US again blamed Hezbollah for the incident.
  • The Clinton White House, in 1995, placed a total embargo on Iran meaning US companies could not trade with the country.
  • And in 2002, George W Bush included the Islamic Republic in his famous “Axis of evil” speech along with North Korea and Iraq.
  • On January 3, 2020, Iran's General Soleimani was killed by a US drone strike in Iraq

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