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USS Abraham Lincoln Deployed to Middle East as "Message" to Iran


usn USS Abraham Lincoln (USN file image)

By MarEx 2019-05-05 23:17:53

On Sunday, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said that the United States is                                  deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln, her destroyer escorts and a bomber task force                                  to the Middle East as a warning to Tehran.

In a statement, Bolton said that the deployment is intended "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."

As of Thursday, the USS Lincoln and her escorts were located in the Adriatic Sea,                                    hosting political leaders from Albania for a shipboard tour. Bolton indicated that the                                    Lincoln would be redeployed to the Central Command area of operations, which                                          covers the Middle East.

"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 said.

The White House views Tehran as a destabilizing force in the Middle East: the                                            Iranian government is widely believed to provide support for the Houthi rebel side                                       in Yemen's civil war, and it is the main backer of Hezbollah, a U.S.-designated                                      terrorist organization with deep roots in Lebanon.

President Donald Trump recently designated Tehran's Iranian Revolutionary                                           Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, the first time that the United                                            States has ever placed a government entity on this list. In a statement last month,                                      the president asserted that the IRGC "actively participates in, finances, and                                             promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft" and is "the Iranian government’s                                                primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign."

Through a strict sanctions regime, the Trump administration is attempting to                                                cut off Iran's oil exports, which are the largest single source of revenue for the                                            Iranian government. The effort has been successful: since sanctions were                                                   reimposed last year, Iranian oil export volumes have fallen from 2.5 million                                         barrels per day to one million barrels per day (or perhaps less). Tehran has                                          ceased publishing export statistics, but industry analysts told Reuters last week                                          that volumes for May will likely be in the range of 600,000-700,000.

Bolton said Sunday that the Lincoln's deployment was made "in response to                                                a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings." In response                                                to the tightening sanctions measures, Iran has previously threatened to disrupt                                    shipping at the Strait of Hormuz, the key chokepoint between the Persian Gulf                                          and the Indian Ocean. An American official told CNN that the threats Bolton                                           referred to Sunday were "against U.S. maritime and land-based forces" in the region.

source: www.maritime-executive.com

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