Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan says the accelerated deployment of a U.S. aircraft carrier group and some bombers to the Middle East is “prudent repositioning” of assets in response to what he said were indications of a credible threat from Iran.
Shanahan says in a tweet Monday that the U.S. will hold Tehran accountable for any attacks on U.S. forces or interests. And he is calling on Iran to “cease all provocation.”
The U.S. has ordered the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group to move to the Middle East about two weeks ahead of schedule. The ships have been in the Mediterranean Sea and had planned to stop for a port visit in Croatia, but that has been canceled.
National security adviser John Bolton said Sunday night that the U.S. was deploying the ships and a bomber task force to the region, intending to send a message that “unrelenting force” will meet any attack on American forces or allies.