The United States has deployed an aircraft carrier and a bomber task force to the Middle East to send a “clear and unmistakable message” to Iran.
National security adviser John Bolton said the administration was acting “in response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” and said that any Iranian attack on the US or its allies would be met with ‘unrelenting force’
The deployment comes amid growing tensions between Iran and the US.
The Guardian reports: However, the tone of Bolton’s declaration looked likely to escalate tensions in the region, and it comes days after the Iranian government expressed concern that Bolton and other hawks were seeking to draw the Trump administration into a new war.
In a written statement, Bolton said the ships and planes were intended “to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”
“The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces,” the statement said.
Rotations of aircraft carrier “strike groups” and bomber fleets happen routinely. At present there are none in the US Central Command region, which encompasses the Middle East and Afghanistan. The Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group, left its base in Norfolk, Virginia, on 1 April and was due to sail to the Mediterranean for exercises and then on to the Gulf.
The US withdrew its B-1 bombers from the Middle East in March for maintenance and upgrades amid concerns the bomber force was over-stretched.
While such changes in global deployment are made regularly, it is rare for the announcement of such deployments to be made by a national security advisor rather than the Pentagon.