U.S. B-1B bomber flies over Mideast amid Iran tensions

In addition to the bomber, fighter jets from Bahrain, Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia flew.

Iranian state media did not immediately recognize the transfer. The Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The transfer has been based on a model of such flights by B-52 bombers capable of nuclear weapons since the Trump administration as a demonstration of power against Iran. Trump unilaterally withdrew the US in 2018 from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, in which Tehran agreed to drastically limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Since then, Iran has given up all the limits of the agreement and drastically curtailed the ability of international inspectors to oversee their program. While Iran insists that its program be peaceful, U.S. intelligence agencies, Western inspectors, and others say Tehran had a structured military nuclear weapons program by late 2003.

President Joe Biden has said he is ready to rejoin the nuclear deal, but talks in Vienna stalled when a die-hard protégé of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei took office. Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said on Sunday that he still saw hope for diplomacy in this situation.

Biden, sending a B1-B bomber into the region, enables him to send “a clear message of reassurance” to regional allies, as the US Air Force Central Command put it on Twitter. But it is not a nuclear-capable bomber.

The B-1B came from the 37th Bomb Squadron, which was stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota.

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