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spokesman for Iran's supreme national security council, on Monday called Bolton's statement "a clumsy use of an out-of-date event for psychological warfare," according to Iran's Tasnim news agency.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

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

1 hour ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in U.K.

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The massive early vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Saturday had already reached 65.5% of 2016's total turnout, according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat.
  2. World: Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  5. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.

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