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The oil route that could be at the center of a U.S. warning of 'unrelenting force' against I

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After what national security adviser John Bolton called "a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings," the U.S. government said Sunday that it was deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command (Centcom) region.

Centcom's operational area includes the Middle East and Central Asia, but Bolton's statement indicated that U.S. attention was primarily focused on one country: Iran.

The oil route that could be at the center of a U.S. warning of 'unrelenting force' against Iran

Rick Noack, The Washington Post

Published 7:50 am EDT, Monday, May 6, 2019

After what national security adviser John Bolton called "a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings," the U.S. government said Sunday that it was deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command (Centcom) region.

Centcom's operational area includes the Middle East and Central Asia, but Bolton's statement indicated that U.S. attention was primarily focused on one country: Iran.

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The move's intended message, Bolton said, was 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."

It was not immediately clear what prompted concerns over an Iranian attack.

After withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear treaty, the Trump administration has put significantly more pressure on Iran in recent months by imposing sanctions on Iranian oil exports and by blacklisting Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.

The oil route that could be at the center of a U.S. warning of 'unrelenting force' against Iran

Rick Noack, The Washington Post

Published 7:50 am EDT, Monday, May 6, 2019

After what national security adviser John Bolton called "a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings," the U.S. government said Sunday that it was deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command (Centcom) region.

Centcom's operational area includes the Middle East and Central Asia, but Bolton's statement indicated that U.S. attention was primarily focused on one country: Iran.

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The move's intended message, Bolton said, was 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."

It was not immediately clear what prompted concerns over an Iranian attack.

After withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear treaty, the Trump administration has put significantly more pressure on Iran in recent months by imposing sanctions on Iranian oil exports and by blacklisting Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.

While Bolton's strongly worded statement to announce additional measures over the weekend was as unusual as those previous moves, the deployment of additional U.S. resources to the region amid heightening tensions has become a more regular occurrence: The reason is the narrow stretch of water at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz.

Amid threats from abroad, Iran has often been quick to remind the world of its key location along one of the world's main oil tanker routes. It once again threatened to close that key transport route in recent weeks. When Bahrain, a Persian Gulf nation with a sizable U.S. troops presence, threatened that it would not allow Iran to proceed with such a move, an Iranian official responded: "Mind your small size and do not threaten someone bigger than yourself."

The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world's most crucial transport routes for oil. About a third of the world's oil tanker traffic passes through the strait, which is bordered by Iran and Oman. In 2016, 18.5 million barrels of petroleum were shipped through it every day, making it the world's single most important maritime route for many nations' oil supplies.

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