American officials have suddenly raised the stakes in the long-simmering tensions between the United States and Iran, pointing to new intelligence that they say suggests an imminent threat to American interests in the Middle East. Although the potential for armed conflict between the two countries has loomed since the Islamic Revolution, the recent American assertion that Iran poses an immediate threat has raised fears that the two nations have pushed closer to the brink.
President Donald Trump’s order of a US military buildup in the Gulf to counter alleged threats by Iran has many worried about a looming war and others sceptical of Washington’s motivations.
Here’s what has happened:
Deployment of aircraft carrier
On May 5, Trump’s hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton announced the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and a B-52 bomber force to the Gulf. Days later, the Pentagon added a Patriot missile defence battery and an amphibious assault ship to the deployment. Bolton said the aircraft carrier and bomber deployments were “in response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings.”
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