The U.S. military says it flew a B-52 bomber over the Persian Gulf in a show of force "to deter potential aggression" amid fears that heightened tensions with Iran could result in attacks on U.S. or allied targets in the region.
It was the third such mission this year and the first since President Joe Biden took office on January 20.
U.S. Central Command said the bomber carried out a round trip from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana that ended on January 27.
"This long-range, short-duration defensive mission was intended to demonstrate the U.S. military's ability to deploy airpower anywhere in the world to deter potential aggression and showcase the US commitment to regional security," U.S. Central Command said in a statement.
Tensions between the United States and Iran have soared since 2018, when former President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from a nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers and imposed crippling sanctions on the Islamic republic.
Biden has stated a desire to return to the deal if Iran honors the agreement’s limits on its nuclear program. Iran has called on Biden to remove the sanctions first before any further steps can be taken.