The US national security advisor says the country is sending an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East in order to send a “clear” message to Iran.
In a Sunday statement, John Bolton said the US is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the US Central Command region.
According to the hawkish official, the move is aimed at sending a “clear and unmistakable message” to Iran that “any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”
The decision has been made “in response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,” he added.
He noted that Washington “is not seeking war” with Iran, but it is “fully prepared to respond to any attack”, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) or regular Iranian forces.
He did not provide further details, but a US official said the forces “have been ordered to the region as a deterrence to what has been seen as potential preparations by Iranian forces and its proxies that may indicate possible attacks on US forces in the region.”
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the United States was not expecting any imminent attack on US forces, Reuters reported.
The move by the US comes as it had earlier vowed to cut Iran’s oil exports down to zero, prompting Tehran to warn that it will not allow any other country to export oil through the Strait of Hormuz if Tehran cannot sell its crude.