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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spokesman for Iran's supreme national security council, on Monday called Bolton's statement "a clumsy use of an out-of-date event for psychological warfare," according to Iran's Tasnim news agency.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

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

10 hours ago - Economy & Business

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

Updated 12 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.

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