In an unusual statement, US National Security adviser John Bolton publicly warned on Sunday that Iran will face “unrelenting force” if it attempts to harm the US.
After making this statement, Bolton then announced that the U.S. is dispatching the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the Middle East “to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime,” USA Today reported.
"In response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings, the United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region 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 said in a statement. "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," USA Today reported.
According to Business Insider Australia, it is believed that the US is responding to credible intelligence that Iran was plotting an attack against US interests, including US military forces and civilians, in the Persian Gulf.
A Strike Group is not an inconsequential military force and so this manoeuvre and announcement are not insignificant either. A Strike Group is comprised of approximately 7,500 personnel, an aircraft carrier, at least one cruiser, a destroyer squadron of at least two destroyers or frigates, and a carrier air wing of 65 to 70 aircraft, as well as submarines.
Mr. Bolton’s mention of deploying a bomber task force suggests the Pentagon is deploying land-based bomber aircraft somewhere in the region, perhaps on the Arabian Peninsula, USA Today revealed.
Sending the Strike Force comes following an intensified campaign by the Trump administration against Iran, having last month designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group, the first ever for an entire division of another government, USA Today reported.
Trump also withdrew from the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018 and, in the months that followed, reimposed sanctions targeting Iran’s oil, shipping and banking sectors.