U.S. sending aircraft carrier, strike force to Mideast to warn Iran

Washington: The United States is deploying forces in the Middle East, in response to what administration officials say are threats of a possible attack by Iran or allied fighters against US troops in the region. National Security Adviser to the White House, John Bolton, said in a statement late Sunday that the United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a special group of bombers in the Central Command region of the United States. , an area that includes the Middle East.

Bolton said the measure was in response to “a series of disturbing and staggered indications and warnings.” He did not provide details, but said the United States wants to send a “clear and unmistakable” message to Iran that “relentless force” would face any attack against the interests of the United States or its allies.

“The United States is not seeking a war against the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps or the regular Iranian forces,” he said.

A Defense Department official told Pentagon correspondent David Martin of CBS News that the United States has detected “a series of preparations for a possible attack” against US forces at sea and on land.

“… There is more than one path of attack or possible attack that we are tracking,” said the official. “… We have seen indications for several days, but they were gathering in the last days … This has been moving very fast today (Sunday).”

The official said the decision to order the deployment was made on Sunday.

The Pentagon had no immediate official comment on Bolton’s statement.

Last month, President Trump announced that EE. UU It would no longer exempt any country from US sanctions. UU If they continue to buy Iranian oil, a decision that mainly affects the five remaining major importers: China, India and allies of the US treaties. UU., Japan, South Korea and Turkey. It was destined to do away with Iranian oil exports.

Since then, Martin reports, US intelligence has been collecting “talks” about Iranian-supported Shi’ite militias in Iraq attacking Americans. There are 5,200 US troops in Iraq. At the time, US intelligence analysts said the Iranian government appeared to be debating whether the issue of oil sanctions could be resolved through diplomacy.

The Abraham Lincoln and his attack group of ships and fighter aircraft have been operating recently in the Mediterranean Sea.

Bolton’s reference to the Central Command area would mean that the Lincoln is heading east toward the Red Sea and perhaps later towards the Arabian Sea or the Persian Gulf. The United States Navy does not currently have an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.

Bolton’s mention of deploying a bomber task force suggests that the Pentagon is deploying ground bomber aircraft somewhere in the region, perhaps in the Arabian Peninsula.

Speaking to reporters as they flew to Europe, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the actions taken by the United States had been in process for a while.

“It is absolutely true that we have seen escalating actions by the Iranians and it is equally true that we are going to hold the Iranians accountable for the attacks on US interests,” said Pompeo. “If these actions are carried out, if they do it by a representative of a third party, a group of militias, Hezbollah, we will make the Iranian leaders take direct responsibility for that.”

When asked about the “climbing actions”, Pompeo replied: “I do not want to talk about what sustains it, but make no mistake, we have good reasons to want to clearly communicate how the Iranians should understand how we will respond to the actions that can be drink.”

When asked if the Iranian action was related to the deadly events in Gaza and Israel, the militants fired rockets into Israel on Sunday and Israel responded with air strikes. Pompeo said he “is separate from that.”

The Trump administration has been intensifying a campaign of pressure against Iran.

In addition to the measure related to US sanctions, Washington also designated the Revolutionary Guards of Iran as a terrorist group last month, the first time it was made to a full division of another government.

Mr. Trump withdrew from the historic nuclear deal by the Obama administration with Iran in May 2018 and, in the months that followed, punitive sanctions were imposed, including those targeting Iran’s oil, maritime and banking sectors.

Bolton and Pompeo have spoken in recent months about Iran and its “evil activities” in the region.

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