Old news: Iran mocks Bolton for using carrier deployment as ‘psychological warfare’
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The deployment of the USS ‘Abraham Lincoln’ to the Middle East, which was trumpeted by John Bolton as an “unmistakable message to the Iranian regime,” is old news being peddled to pressure Tehran, a senior Iranian official said.
Bolton, the US national security adviser, described the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier and its strike group as an “unrelenting force” that will respond to any attack on US interests by Iran. Responding to the threat, Keyvan Khosravi, the spokesman for Iran’s National Security Council, dismissed Bolton’s statement as “an unskillful use of a worn-out event to wage psychological war against Iran.”
The Iranian official pointed out that the movement of the carrier strike group was known long before Bolton’s statement. US defense officials reported that the USS ‘Abraham Lincoln’ entered the Mediterranean Sea in early April, a week after leaving Norfolk, and was slated to circumnavigate the globe before reaching its homeport of San Diego.
Bolton cited an unspecified “credible threat” as the reason for the deployment of the carrier group. According to Axios, the US acted on a vague tip from the Israeli spy agency Mossad, which was relayed to the US on April 15.
The date coincides with that which was pinpointed by Khosravi, who said on Monday that the Iranians had spotted the carrier entering the Mediterranean “21 days ago.” The naval force had actually been in the sea for about a week by that time, according to public information.
The simultaneous presence of the USS ‘Abraham Lincoln’ and her fellow ship USS ‘John C. Stennis’ in the Mediterranean provided an opportunity for some grandstanding to another US official, Jon Huntsman, who serves as Washington’s ambassador to Russia. He touted the ships as “200,000 tons” of “forward-operating diplomacy,” but failed to explain why he believed the show of force would make Russia change its foreign policies more to Washington’s liking.
President Donald Trump himself has a record of touting the might of US aircraft carriers when threatening other nations. In April 2017, he famously bragged that the USS ‘Carl Vinson’ Carrier Strike Group – or “armada,” as he called it – was sailing at full speed ahead towards North Korea, ready to crush the nation over its latest ballistic missile tests. The gravity of Trump’s words were somewhat undermined by the fact that the “armada” was actually thousands of miles away and heading in the opposite direction at the time.
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