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National security adviser John Bolton. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Iran on Monday dismissed U.S. national security adviser John Bolton's announcement that the U.S. is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to send it "a clear and unmistakable message."

"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."
— John Bolton statement

Why it matters: A defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AP the strike group was deployed after "clear indications" that Iran, along with its proxy forces, was preparing to possibly attack U.S. forces in the region. The move is an escalation of action against Iran. The Trump administration has been working to starve the Iranian regime of cash and chill the country's growth, per Axios' Jonathan Swan.

What they're saying: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters aboard a flight to Europe that the Trump administration had been working on the matter "for a little while," according to NBC News.

"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. 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."

The big picture: Bolton stressed in his statement the United States wasn't seeking war with Iran. "[B]ut we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces," he said.

The other side: Keyvan Khosravi, spokesman for Iran's supreme national security council, on Monday called Bolton's statement "a clumsy use of an out-of-date event for psychological warfare," according to Iran's Tasnim news agency. Khosravi claimed Iranian forces observed the carrier entering the Mediterranean Sea 21 days ago.

Between the lines: Khosravi appears to be referring to a U.S. Navy announcement last month that said the strike group had left Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia for a regularly scheduled deployment — which appears to be separate from the latest announcement.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

What's next? Iran plans to announce measures in response to President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from Tehran’s nuclear deal, one year on, Tasnim said. Trump is set to announce new sanctions against the country, per Axios' Jonathan Swan.

Go deeper:

Scoop: Israel passed White House intelligence on possible Iran plot

Trump's next moves to tank the Iranian economy

Trump's maximum pressure campaign hammers Iranian economy

Go deeper

Cuomo: "No way I resign" after sexual harassment accusations

Cuomo at a Feb. 24 press conference. Photo: Seth Wenig/pool/AFP via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was defiant on Sunday, stating again that he would not resign even as more former aides have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior.

The big picture: Cuomo has denied all sexual harassment allegations against him and said that he "never inappropriately touched anybody." He acknowledged in a statement that "some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation." Some of the calls for Cuomo to resign have come from within the Democratic party.

N.Y. Times faces culture clashes as business booms

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New York Times columnist David Brooks' resignation from a paid gig at a think tank on Saturday is the latest in a flurry of scandals that America's biggest and most successful newspaper company has endured in the past year.

Driving the news: Brooks resigned from the Aspen Institute following a BuzzFeed News investigation that uncovered conflicts of interest between his reporting and money he accepted from corporate donors for a project called "Weave" that he worked on at the nonprofit.

America rebalances its post-Trump news diet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Nearly halfway through President Biden's first 100 days, data shows that Americans are learning to wean themselves off of news — and especially politics.

Why it matters: The departure of former President Trump's once-ubiquitous presence in the news cycle has reoriented the country's attention.

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