In an unusual statement, issued on Sunday evening, US National Security Adviser John Bolton warned Iran against any hostile moves against the US or its allies as he announced that the US was moving military forces to the region that would be capable of attacking the country.
“The United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the US Central Command region”—i.e., the Middle East, Bolton said.
The movements are “in response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,” his statement affirmed.
Our purpose, he continued, is “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.”
Bolton did not provide any details as to what information the US had picked up, but The Wall Street Journal reported that “new intelligence” had “alarmed the White House and is the trigger for the deployment.”
The move is “based on a specific threat to US forces operating in the region,” The Journal continued. “There have been indications recently of Iran or its proxies assembling and moving assets both on land and sea.”
Bolton affirmed, “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 US has placed ever-increasing economic and political pressure on Iran. Oil sanctions, imposed last November, have caused Iranian oil exports to drop by more than 1.5 million barrels a day, according to State Department figures, and have cost the regime some $10 billion in oil revenue.
Last week, Washington tightened those sanctions, as it ended the previous waivers that it had granted to eight countries, including Turkey, that are still importing Iranian oil. Last month the US designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization.