The USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, with a bomber task force, have been deployed to the Middle East to send a message to Iran, National Security Advisor John Bolton said in a statement Sunday night. The news comes after weekend of missile fire into Israel from militants in the Gaza strip and tensions between Iran and the U.S. have continued to escalate.
Here is Bolton's statement:
In response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings, the United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Grouop0 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 the United States interests or on those of our allies will 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.
Just a month ago, the U.S. designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the elite Iranian force, a terrorist organization. The administration is imposing more sanctions on Iran any day. And just weeks ago the administration announced it would not be waiving sanctions for countries that import oil from Iran.
Violence in Gaza has dominated Middle East news in the United States this weekend, as missiles have been fired and civilians targeted by terror. Hamas fired over 200 rockets into Israel on Sunday. Among the other terror groups operating in Gaza and attacking Israel is the Islamic Jihad, an Iranian proxy.
The President tweeted in support of Israel on Sunday afternoon. In that tweet he condemned not only Hamas, but the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad.
The language of Bolton's statement makes clear all of these factors play a part in the decision tonight to send that clear message to Iran to watch their step.