The Trump administration has dispatched an aircraft carrier group to the Middle East in order to demonstrate U.S. resolve to the Iranian regime, national security adviser John Bolton announced Sunday evening.
“[A]ny attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force,” 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.”
The USS Abraham Lincoln and its accompanying aircraft strike group will travel from the Mediterranean Sea to to the U.S. Central Command, an area that includes the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf.
The decision was reached following “clear indications” that Iranian and Iranian proxy forces were planning to attack U.S. forces in the Middle East, the Associated Press reported Monday.
Speaking to reporters aboard his flight to Europe on Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said plans to dispatch the decision was made in response to a series of “escalatory actions” by the Iranians but would not specify as to what those were.
“It is absolutely the case that we have seen escalatory actions from the Iranians and it is equally the case that we will hold the Iranians accountable for attacks on American interests,” Pompeo said. “If these actions take place, if they do by some third-party proxy, a militia group, Hezbollah, we will hold the Iranian leadership directly accountable for that.”
The move comes after the Trump administration officially designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist group and eliminated all exemptions for foreign nations purchasing Iranian oil.