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US warship pullout from Persian Gulf ‘goodwill gesture’ to Iran: Former CIA contractor

A former CIA contractor says US President Barack Obama’s decision to withdraw the USS Theodore Roosevelt from the Persian Gulf shows a goodwill gesture towards Iran in the wake of the nuclear agreement.

“This is a goodwill gesture on the behalf of President Obama towards Iran to suggest that the mission to contain Iranian aggression has been realized as unnecessary and therefore the purpose of this particular ship in this area is unnecessary,” said Steven Kelley.

He made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Monday when commenting on retired US admiral James Stavridis’ remarks in attacking Obama over the decision.

The aircraft carrier is scheduled to leave in October. The Roosevelt’s replacement, the USS Harry S. Truman, however, will not arrive in the Persian Gulf until the winter of 2016, leaving a period of two months in which the US will not have a warship in the region.

Stavridis said Sunday, “It is hard for me to understand why we cannot manage a fleet of that size to maintain an aircraft carrier at all times in regions as dangerous as” the Persian Gulf.

“This particular source of the attack [on Obama] should [be] considered a warmongering position,” said Kelley. “What’s bizarre is that he also calls upon the Obama administration to push back against the Russian aggression.”

“We are talking about a two-month period of the ship being moved out of [the Persian Gulf],” said Kelley.

“This is interesting for a couple of different reasons. First of all, the possibility that’s being moved out could also indicate that the ship is… possibly being rotated,” he said.

“The other thing we do know is that because of the recent availability of airbases in Turkey for the purpose of fighting against ISIL, we know that the necessity of having this particular aircraft career at the location at this time is less of a necessity,” Kelley added.

Obama said Sunday that there was a chance that Washington would improve relations with Iran as a result of the agreement reached between Tehran and the P5+1 group — the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – in the Austrian capital of Vienna on July 14.

Obama said that Iran’s “nuclear problem” should be resolved first and that the accord can provide grounds for reaching that goal “better than any alternative.”

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