US deploys navy strike group to send ‘message’ to Iran

US ‘is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack,’ says Bolton.
WASHINGTON: The U.S. is deploying an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Central Command region in the Middle East to send “a clear and unmistakable message” to Iran, National Security Adviser John Bolton said Sunday.

Bolton said in a statement that the deployment was in “response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications” by Tehran, and that any attack on the U.S. interests would 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,” Bolton said.

The move taken by Washington is the latest amid a series of actions to assert economic pressure on Iran.

The Trump administration re-imposed sanctions on Iranian oil exports in November after the president pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal between Tehran, Washington and five other countries.

The administration also ended sanctions waivers for those countries buying Iranian oil.

According to the Navy’s website, the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group has been deployed Norfolk Naval Base on April 1 for “a regularly scheduled deployment.”–AA

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