United States Air Force C-32A - Speaking onboard United States Air Force C-32A to reporters Sunday night, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo backed up a statement released by White House National Security Advisor John Bolton on Iran.
“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. “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."
Pompeo didn’t get into specifics about what behaviors triggered the movement of U.S. military assets, but did say the actions have been direct and through terrorist proxies like Hezbollah.
“This is something we’ve been working on for a little while. It is absolutely the case that we’ve seen escalatory action from the Iranians. It is equally the case we will hold the Iranians accountable for attacks on American interests. The fact that if those actions take place through some kind of third party proxy, militia group, or Hezbollah, we will hold the Iranian leadership directly accountable for that.”
Pompeo did confirm the move is unrelated to Hamas, an Iranian backed Islamic terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip, firing more than 600 rockets into Israel over the weekend.
“Make no mistake, we have good reason to want to communicate clearly about how the Iranians should understand how we will respond to any actions they may take,” Pompeo said. “The Iranians understand exactly what our view is about the threats that they’re posing to U.S. interests around the world.”
Pompeo is in Europe this week for a number of meetings with foreign leaders, including Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.