U.S. deploys aircraft carrier after credible intelligence that Iranian forces were targeting American forces.

Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Clint Davis/DVIDS

U.S. deploys carrier to deter Iran after threats against American troops

May 06, 2019 - 1:27 pm

By Ben Krimmel

The United States has dispatched an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber group to the Middle East in response to "a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings" related to Iran, said national security adviser  John Bolton. 

In a surprise statement, the White House announced the USS Abraham Lincoln and a bomber task force were being deployed 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," the statement read.

The threats from Iran included “specific and credible” intelligence that Iranian forces and proxies were targeting American forces in Syria, Iraq, and at sea, U.S. officials told CNN's Barbara Starr. Starr added there were "multiple threads of intelligence about multiple locations."

A U.S. official told ABC News the sudden deployments were in response to “clear indications” of forces preparing for a possible attack on U.S. forces. 

President Donald Trump told CBS News in February he wanted to keep American troops stationed in Iraq to "watch Iran" because he wanted to look "a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem." 

"I want to be able to watch Iran. All I want to do is be able to watch," Trump said at the time. "We have an unbelievable and expensive military base built in Iraq. It's perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East rather than pulling up."

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan called the deployment, which he approved, a "prudent repositioning of assets in response to indications of a credible threat by Iranian regime forces."

The deployment of carriers marks the latest action aimed at increasing the pressure on Iran by Trump's administration in the past few weeks.

In early April, the Trump Administration designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a group of Iran's military, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. 

The USS Abraham Lincoln has currently been operating in the Mediterranean Sea after leaving Norfolk, Virginia, on April 1 and is likely headed east to the Red Sea and perhaps the Arabian Sea or the Persian Gulf. The Navy does not have an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.

"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," Bolton's statement concluded.

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