The US is deploying a carrier strike group and bomber command force to the Middle East to send a “message” to Tehran, that any attack on US interests will be met by “unrelenting force,” national security adviser John 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, [by] the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or regular Iranian forces,” Bolton said in a statement.
Washington announced sanctions against Iran’s nuclear power plant at Bushehr and a ban on exports of heavy water and any further uranium enrichment on Friday.
In April the Trump administration said it would not renew exemptions granted last year to buyers of Iranian oil, in line with its plan to bring the Islamic Republic’s crude exports to zero.
Also last month, Washington formally designated the IRGC as a terrorist organization in April. Tehran responded by putting US Central Command on its terrorist list.
The move was criticized by European countries, who said that Tehran is adhering to the JCPoA nuclear agreement that Washington ditched last year.
Tehran has been responding to every US action with statements full of resilience and blasting Washington’s “bullying.” Iran’s deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday that if fighting breaks out between Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and US CENTCOM forces in the Persian gulf, it is Washington who would be held responsible.
On Sunday Bolton said the decision to send USS Abraham Lincoln was “in response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings.”
The statement was met with concerns that hawkish Bolton wants in fact a war with Iran, while some suggested that he’s trying to distract attention from the failure of the coup in Venezuela.