ESCALATION

Bolton: U.S. Deploying Carrier Group to Middle East to Send ‘Message’ to Iran

The USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force are being deployed to the Middle East in response to “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,” National Security Adviser John Bolton said in a statement Sunday night. The Associated Press, quoting a U.S. defense official, said the deployments were “in response to indications that Iran and its proxy forces were preparing to possibly attack U.S. forces in the region.” It’s not clear what recent provocative Iranian actions Bolton was referring to, and the carrier group had been previously scheduled to travel through the region. Bolton said the U.S. is taking the step “to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.” Bolton added that “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.” Axios reported the U.S. is also poised to announce sanctions on a sector of the Iranian economy.