U.S. sending aircraft carrier, strike force to Mideast to warn Iran, Bolton says

/ CBS/AP

U.S. tightens sanctions on Iranian oil

Washington – The United States is deploying forces to the Middle East, in response to what administration officials say are threats of a possible attack on American troops in the region.

White House national security adviser John Bolton said in a statement Sunday night that the U.S. is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region, an area that includes the Middle East.

Bolton said the move was in response to "a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings." He didn't provide details, but said the U.S. wants to send a "clear and unmistakable" message to Iran that "unrelenting force" would meet any attack on U.S. interests or those of its allies.

Trending News

"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," he said.

USS Abraham Lincoln in undated phhoto CBS News

A Defense Department official told CBS News chief Pentagon correspondent David Martin the U.S. has detected "a number of preparations for possible attack" on U.S. forces at sea and on land.

"… There is more than one avenue of attack or possible attack that we're tracking," the official said. " … We've seen indications for a number of days but they were coming together in the last several days. … This has been moving pretty fast today (Sunday)."

The official said the decision to order the deployment was made Sunday.

The Pentagon had no immediate official comment on the Bolton statement.

Last month, President Trump announced the U.S. would no longer exempt any countries from U.S. sanctions if they continue to buy Iranian oil, a decision that primarily affects the five remaining major importers: China and India and U.S. treaty allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey and was meant to end Iranian oil exports.

Since then, Martin reports, U.S. intelligence has been picking up "chatter" about Iranian-backed Shia militias in Iraq attacking Americans. There are 5,200 U.S. troops in Iraq. At the time, U.S. intelligence analysts said the Iranian government appeared to be debating whether the issue of oil sanctions could be resolved through diplomacy.

The Abraham Lincoln and its strike group of ships and combat aircraft have been operating in the Mediterranean Sea recently.

Bolton's reference to the Central Command area would mean the Lincoln is headed east to the Red Sea and perhaps then to the Arabian Sea or the Persian Gulf. The U.S. Navy currently has no aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.

Bolton's mention of deploying a bomber task force suggests the Pentagon is deploying land-based bomber aircraft somewhere in the region, perhaps on the Arabian Peninsula.

Speaking to reporters while flying to Europe, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the actions undertaken by the U.S. had been in the works for a little while.

"It is absolutely the case that we have seen escalatory actions from the Iranians and it is equally the case that we will hold the Iranians accountable for attacks on American interests," Pompeo said. "If these actions take place, if they do by some third-party proxy, a militia group, Hezbollah, we will hold the Iranian leadership directly accountable for that."

Asked about "escalatory actions," Pompeo replied, "I don't want to talk about what underlays it, but make no mistake, we have good reason to want to communicate clearly about how the Iranians should understand how we will respond to actions they may take."

Asked if the Iranian action were related to the deadly events in Gaza and Israel – militants fired rockets into Israel on Sunday and Israel responded with airstrikes – Pompeo said, "It is separate from that."

The Trump administration has been intensifying a pressure campaign against Iran.

In addition to the move regarding U.S. sanctions, Washington also last month designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group, the first time that was ever done to an entire division of another government.

Mr. Trump withdrew from the Obama administration's landmark nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018 and, in the months that followed, reimposed punishing sanctions including those targeting Iran's oil, shipping and banking sectors.

Bolton and Pompeo have in recent months spoken stridently about Iran and its "malign activities" in the region.

First published on May 6, 2019 / 4:08 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ctm-0523-uss-lincoln.jpg

Jetliner that slid into Jacksonville river used shortened runway

Though the runway was around 9,000 feet long, pilots were advised they only had about 7,800 feet to land

3H ago

Trump taps Obama-era Border Patrol chief as ICE director

Mark Morgan was named the head of the U.S. Border Patrol in 2016, but was ousted early in Mr. Trump's presidency. Since he left, he's defended the administration's immigration policies

6H ago

Adam Sandler performs tribute to Chris Farley on "Saturday Night Live"

"Give it up for the great Chris Farley," Sandler said on the May 4 broadcast

6H ago

3rd body recovered in rubble of Illinois silicone plant that exploded

One more body is still believed to be in the debris, a fire official said days after the deadly blast Friday

6H ago

"Avengers: Endgame" surpasses $2 billion in ticket sales

"Endgame" is one of five movies to ever reach that threshold and, not accounting for inflation, is now second worldwide only to "Avatar's" $2.8 billion

7H ago

Trump taps Obama-era Border Patrol chief as ICE director

Mark Morgan was named the head of the U.S. Border Patrol in 2016, but was ousted early in Mr. Trump's presidency. Since he left, he's defended the administration's immigration policies

6H ago

Trump threatens to hit China with $200 billion in tariffs

Mr. Trump's comments, delivered on Twitter, came as a Chinese delegation was scheduled to resume talks in Washington on Wednesday

2H ago

Trump says Robert Mueller shouldn't testify before Congress

Trump said just days ago that he would let his attorney general decide if Mueller should testify

3H ago

Biden raises more than $100,000 at South Carolina fundraiser

The fundraiser Saturday night brought together the upper echelon of South Carolina Democratic politics

9H ago

Rep. Doug Collins: Democrats "know they can't" impeach Trump

"We have the best economy we've had in years, 50 years of unemployment," Collins said. "What were you impeaching him for?"

14H ago

U.S. sending forces to Mideast to warn Iran, Bolton says

Top White House aide says Washington sending "clear and unmistakable" message to Tehran; sources say U.S. tracking preps for attack by Iran or allied forces

23M ago

New Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire deal apparently reached

Neither side made official announcement but hostilities that erupted over the weekend suddenly seemed to end; deaths reported by both sides

1H ago

Trump threatens to hit China with $200 billion in tariffs

Mr. Trump's comments, delivered on Twitter, came as a Chinese delegation was scheduled to resume talks in Washington on Wednesday

2H ago

Venezuelan opposition in contact with Russia "on several levels," leader says

Yon Goicoechea said the opposition's communications with Russia occurred for at least a year "on several levels"

10H ago

41 killed after plane makes fiery landing at Russian airport

The jet, operated by Aeroflot, could be seen landing and speeding down a runway spewing huge flames and black smoke at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport

9H ago

Adam Sandler performs tribute to Chris Farley on "Saturday Night Live"

"Give it up for the great Chris Farley," Sandler said on the May 4 broadcast

6H ago

New on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon

Shows and movies you'll want to stream in May

Apr 26 36 photos

"Avengers: Endgame" surpasses $2 billion in ticket sales

"Endgame" is one of five movies to ever reach that threshold and, not accounting for inflation, is now second worldwide only to "Avatar's" $2.8 billion

7H ago

Singing the praises of karaoke

Daisuke Inoue, a Japanese musician who couldn't read music, invented a machine that would help teach the world to sing in perfect harmony

18H ago

Let's all sing the praises of karaoke

Nancy Giles meets the inventor of karaoke, Daisuke Inoue, a Japanese musician who couldn't read music, but who created a machine that would help the world to sing in perfect harmony. She also picks up a mic with Joshua Baron, Seattle's "Karaoke Baron."

17H ago 03:53

Inside Silicon Valley's surprising push to help people unplug

This week at its annual F8 Conference, Facebook announced new features for Instagram, including a de-emphasis on "likes"

May 4

SpaceX launches unpiloted cargo ship to space station

The Dragon is loaded with nearly 5,500 pounds of equipment

May 4

Warren Buffett: I was an "idiot" for not buying Amazon shares sooner

Storied investor says a money manager at Berkshire Hathaway decided to invest in the ecommerce giant

May 3

Pornhub wants to make Tumblr NSFW again

Pornhub said it's interested in restoring the adult content that blogging platform Tumblr had banned last year

May 3

Amazon to accept cash at its brick-and-mortar stores

Amazon is tinkering with its cashless policies as lawmakers across U.S. seek to ban no-cash retailing as discriminatory

May 3

Nature up close: A red fox family in Yellowstone

A pair of foxes and their kits provide photographers with a surprisingly up-close-and-personal view of fox life, and death

May 3

Gravity wave detectors spot more black hole mergers

After upgrades, gravitational wave detectors haul in rich bounty of observations

May 2

SpaceX confirms crew spacecraft destroyed in test mishap

Crew Dragon spacecraft was being prepared for in-flight test of emergency abort system when something went terribly wrong

May 2

Blue Origin launches rocket with NASA payloads

Company founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos aims to send private citizens and scientists into space

May 2

States declare war on Styrofoam — "People think it breaks down"

Maine is the first U.S. state to ban polystyrene food containers, which are hard to recycle and often end up in oceans

May 1

CBD: On a real market high

Cannabidiol, a chemical compound extracted from hemp, is now at the center of a swiftly-growing industry which last year derived about $600 million in U.S. sales

18H ago

Facebook bans breast cancer ad campaign

Facebook is facing backlash for banning an ad campaign that aims to highlight "the reality of a breast cancer diagnosis"

May 3

Girl could be first to have "air pollution" listed as cause of death

"There is a real prospect that without unlawful levels of air pollution Ella would not have died," report says

updated 13M ago

FDA warns that French cheese may be tainted with listeria

Product made with pasteurized cow's milk was distributed throughout the United States

May 3

Man suffers stroke after cracking neck

"Right after I heard a pop, everything on my left side went numb," Josh Hader told CBS News

May 3

Trump threatens to hit China with $200 billion in tariffs

Mr. Trump's comments, delivered on Twitter, came as a Chinese delegation was scheduled to resume talks in Washington on Wednesday

2H ago

Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Cruises' brand-new, billion-dollar cruise ship

In an industry in which passenger traffic has increased exponentially over the past decade, Royal Caribbean is sinking millions into innovation, both above and below deck

18H ago

Is this record-setting stock market setting up investors for a fall?

If you're worried that stock prices can't get much higher, you might want to review this list of market indicators

Apr 30

CBD: On a real market high

Cannabidiol, a chemical compound extracted from hemp, is now at the center of a swiftly-growing industry which last year derived about $600 million in U.S. sales

18H ago

The rise of female gun ownership and fashionable "carrywear"

Alexo Athletica designed a pair of Lulelemon-like leggings with pockets for guns — and women gun owners took notice

Apr 26

The case against Enrico Forti: Is he the Italian Amanda Knox?

Two decades after Dale Pike was shot dead on a Miami beach, questions still swirl around the man convicted for the murder

May 4

YouTuber Austin Jones gets 10 years in prison in child porn case

He was sentenced "for enticing several underage girls … to produce sexually explicit videos"

May 4

Family who paid $6.5 million in admissions scandal claims innocence

Unlike other parents indicted so far, the Zhous have not been charged

May 3

40 charges filed against truck driver in fiery interstate crash

Four people were killed in the April 25 crash on Colorado's Interstate 70

May 3

Footage released of fatal Connecticut police shooting

Connecticut officials have taken the unusual step of releasing video of a police shooting soon after it occurred, for the second time in two weeks

May 3

SpaceX confirms crew spacecraft destroyed in test mishap

Crew Dragon spacecraft was being prepared for in-flight test of emergency abort system when something went terribly wrong

May 2

Blue Origin launches rocket with NASA payloads

Company founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos aims to send private citizens and scientists into space

May 2

SpaceX launch delayed by space station glitch

Faulty electronics box on the space station will be replaced using the lab's robot arm

Apr 30

NASA troubleshoots space station power glitch

Upcoming SpaceX cargo launch could be delayed if space station power glitch isn't quickly resolved

Apr 29

NASA just detected the first "marsquake"

For the first time since its mission began, NASA's InSight lander has detected what scientists believe to be a marsquake

Apr 23

Dale Pike murder: Evidence photos in the case against Enrico Forti

In 1998, Dale Pike came to Miami to discuss a business deal with Enrico Forti — the next day he was dead, and Forti was the prime suspect

May 3 17 photos

Worst movie sequels since 2000, ranked

These are the lowest-rated sequels this century, according to Metacritic's rankings

Apr 30 51 photos

Private secrets shared via postcard

Since 2004, hundreds of thousands of anonymous contributors with something to get off their chest have sent postcards to the website PostSecret.com

Apr 28 32 photos

Met Gala: Craziest looks of all time

The bigger the tiara – or pope hat – the better! (Just ask Rihanna, Katy Perry or Sarah Jessica Parker… )

Apr 26 47 photos

New on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon

Shows and movies you'll want to stream soon

Apr 26 36 photos

Popular

Ransomware, Frontotemporal Dementia, Polar Punk

How cybercriminals hold data hostage; then, living with Frontotemporal Dementia; and, the sounds of Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq

4H ago 43:41

The sounds of Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq

"It's not for everybody," Tagaq says, but her unique music, a blend of an ancient art form with elements of punk rock, heavy metal and electronica, has been called "transfixing" by Rolling Stone. Jon Wertheim reports.

4H ago 13:38

Living with frontotemporal dementia

Bill Whitaker reports on FTD, a devastating illness and the most common form of dementia for Americans under the age of 60.

4H ago 14:11

How cybercriminals hold data hostage

Targets have included hospitals and municipalities, but the FBI says anyone on the internet should expect to be attacked by cybercriminals. Scott Pelley reports.

4H ago 11:57

Kentucky Derby disqualification raises questions

It was an historic day at the Kentucky Derby on Saturday where "Maximum Security" finished first, but was later disqualified for interference, leaving "Country House" the named winner. The decision was so controversial, even the president tweeted about it. Jonathan Vigliotti reports.

4H ago 01:58