Washington deploys warships, Tehran resumes nuclear programme

The White House is sending the USS Abraham Lincoln and bombers to the Mideast. Bolton sees troubling “indications and warnings”, notes the US would use “unrelenting force”. Trump is ready for new sanctions against Iran. Iranian President Rouhani is expected to announce the reduction of some "minor and general" commitments under the nuclear deal.

Tehran (AsiaNews) – The winds of war are blowing across the Middle East as Iran and the United States are set to face off.

The Trump administration is deploying an aircraft carrier group to the region led by the USS Abraham Lincoln, as well as bombers, whilst Iran has announced its intention to resume nuclear activities.

Although the United States is not expecting any imminent Iranian attack, it decided to boost its military presence in the region.

A US official said in fact the naval deployment was ordered as a deterrent against possible threats “by Iranian forces and its proxies”.

For US National Security Adviser John Bolton, one of the four Bs, there are troubling “indications and warnings” from Iran and the United States will retaliate with “unrelenting force” to any attack.

Bolton – who has spearheaded an increasingly hawkish US policy on Iran – said the decision, which could exacerbate problems between the two countries, was meant to send a “clear and unmistakable message” of US resolve to Tehran.

For some analysts and experts, this follows Iran’s warning that it would block the Strait of Hormuz if it was barred from using the strategic waterway. US sanctions have been particularly hard on Iran’s oil industry.

In May 2018, US President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal (JCPOA) ​​agreed by his predecessor Barack Obama, and imposed the toughest sanctions on Iran in history.

As noted by the International Monetary Fund, this decision has negatively impacted Iran’s economy, especially its oil exports, which was the goal of the second wave of sanctions that came into effect on 4 November 2018.

Despite Washington’s hardline stance, the Islamic Republic continues to honour its commitments under the nuclear agreement, as certified by the IAEA experts.

A year after pulling out of the deal, the White House is set to announce new sanctions against Iran tomorrow, targeting an unspecified sector of the Iranian economy, this according to Axios, the news and information website that first reported the story.

For its part, Tehran said that it is ready to resume – at least in part – its nuclear programme without abandoning the 2015 agreement still in force with Russia, China, France, Great Britain and Germany.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is expected to announce a reduction to some of its “minor and general” commitments under the deal “in reaction to the exit of America from the nuclear deal and the bad promises of European countries in carrying out their obligations,” an Iranian government source is quoted as saying in state-run IRIB news agency.

Similarly, the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported that Iran on Wednesday will announce “reciprocal actions” to the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, quoting “knowledgeable sources”.

Some European Union leaders have been unofficially told of Iran’s decision, the agency said.