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US sends naval group to Middle East in 'unmistakable' message to Iran

The deployment comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran

AFP | PTI  |  Washington 

US President Donald Trump delivered a televised address to the nation from his desk in the Oval Office about immigration and the southern US border
US President Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters

The is sending an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the in a "clear and unmistakable" message to Iran, National Security Advisor John Bolton said Sunday.

"In response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings, the is deploying the and a bomber task force to the region," Bolton said in a statement.

The deployment is aimed at sending "a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on 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."

The statement did not specifically state why the deployment is taking place now, but it comes during a deadly escalation between Gaza-based Palestinian militants and Israel in which the two sides have traded a barrage of rocket fire and air strikes in recent days.

The deployment also comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran over the latter's nuclear program, with the US taking aim at Iranian enriched uranium exports with sanctions.

First Published: Mon, May 06 2019. 07:50 IST