John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, announced the United States is sending a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East to send a “clear and unmistakable message” to Iran.
While he said the United States wasn’t seeking to go to war with Iran, “any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”
Bolton said the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, and an unspecified bomber task force were being sent to U.S. Central Command’s region of responsibility, which covers the Middle East. According to the Navy, the strike group left Norfolk on April 1 on a regularly scheduled deployment and was recently in the Mediterranean.
Bolton said the deployment was in response to “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” on the part of Tehran, but did not elaborate. Such deployments are rarely announced in advance.
In a brief statement, Bolton didn’t say what specific actions or provocations the United States was responding to, but the announcement comes two days after the Trump administration imposed new limits on Iran’s nuclear activities and as violence is worsening in the Gaza Strip.
Bolton said. “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.”
Iran is widely reported to fund Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which the Israeli government has blamed for instigating the latest round of violence by shooting and wounding two Israeli soldiers Friday.