A US B-52 bomber flew over the Middle East Wednesday in a show of force by President Joe Biden's new administration as it girds for a challenging relationship with Iran, the Pentagon said.
The nuclear-capable B-52H Stratofortresss flew the round-trip mission from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, accompanied at different times by US fighter jets and refueling tankers, and, at one point, by Royal Saudi Arabian Air Force F-15 fighters.
It was the third such mission this year, the first two carried out by the previous administration of Donald Trump to maintain a threat presence against Iran.
While Biden, who became president on January 20, has signaled a readiness to thaw relations with Tehran, the new mission showed that US strategic policy has not changed.
"This long-range, short-duration defensive mission was intended to demonstrate the US military´s ability to deploy airpower anywhere in the world to deter potential aggression and showcase the US commitment to regional security," the US Central Command said in a statement.
"Centcom is committed to partner security and preserving regional stability," it said.