US Acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan confirmed via his Twitter that the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln and a bomber task force to the US Central Command region represents a repositioning of assets in response to warnings of a possible attack by Iran.
1 of 2: Last night's announced deployment of the @CVN_72 and a @USAirForce bomber task force to the @CENTCOM area of responsibility, which I approved yesterday, represents a prudent repositioning of assets in response to indications of a credible threat by Iranian regime forces.— Acting SecDef Pat Shanahan (@ActingSecDef) May 6, 2019
He added that the United States would hold Iran accountable for "any attack against US forces" or interests in the Gulf region.
"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", the statement said.
The United States Central Command's area of responsibility consists of the Middle East, including Egypt in Africa, and Central Asia, notably Afghanistan and Iraq. Its forces are active participants in many military campaigns in the region.
Bolton added that Washington is not "seeking war" with Iran, but it is fully prepared "to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces".
Tensions have been running high between Iran and the United States since May 2018, when US President Donald Trump, a long-time critic of the historic Iran nuclear deal, pulled out of the agreement in May 2018. In less than a year, Washington unveiled massive batches of sanctions against the Islamic Republic, targeting the country's finance, transport, military, and other spheres.