US warns swift and decisive response to any attacks by Iran or its proxies
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran had “engaged in an escalating series of threatening actions and statements in recent weeks” and that “any attacks by them or their proxies against US interests or citizens will be answered with a swift and decisive US response.”
He provided no specifics about the nature or scope of that threat, but other US officials have said that they’ve observed Iranian forces moving missiles around on boats.
“Iran’s 40 years of killing American soldiers, attacking American facilities and taking American hostages is a constant reminder that we must defend ourselves,” Pompeo said.
He urged Tehran to seek “a path to a prosperous future through de-escalation to modify the regime’s behavior”.
On Tuesday US Central Command spokesperson Capt. Bill Urban said they had seen “indications that Iranian and Iranian proxy forces were making preparations to possibly attack US forces in the region.”
It’s not clear if Iran could launch the missiles from the boats or if they are transporting them to be used by Iranian forces on land.
Four B-52 bombers are being deployed to the Middle East. Two of the bombers are expected to leave Tuesday from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, arriving at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar on Wednesday.
White House national security adviser John Bolton said on Sunday that the US was deploying a bomber task force and the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group to the U.S. Central Command region, an area that includes the Middle East.
“What I’d like to see with Iran, I’d like to see them call me,” US President Donald Trump said on Thursday, in his second call for direct engagement with Iran in less than 24 hours.
“I look forward to some day meeting with the leaders of Iran to work out an agreement and, very importantly, taking steps to give Iran the future it deserves,” he said on Wednesday.
That same day he announced new US sanctions on Iran’s steel, aluminum and copper exports.