The USS Abraham Lincoln continues to monitor activity from just outside the Persian Gulf to prevent tensions with Iran from escalating.
On Monday, US aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln was ordered by the White House to “rapidly deploy to the Mideast over a perceived threat from Iran,” reports the Associated Press. However, the ship has not yet entered the Persian Gulf and is avoiding confrontation with Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces to help cool rising tensions between the two nations.
Officers aboard the ship told the AP that it could rapidly respond to any regional threat from its position 200 miles (320 kilometers) off the eastern coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea. At the same time, the AP notes that keeping the Lincoln back is a “striking” decision, given how American carriers have been sailing through the Strait of Hormuz for decades.
“You don’t want to inadvertently escalate something,” the Lincoln’s commanding officer Capt. Putnam Browne, told the AP.
Rear Adm. John Wade, the commander of the carrier strike group, said that US forces could “conduct my mission wherever and whenever needed.” He also explained that the carrier strike group was there to ensure operations along with the safety and security of commerce and trade going through the Strait of Hormuz.
In May, the White House ordered increased deployment of the carrier strike group to the region. This included the Lincoln and B-52 bombers sent to the Persian Gulf in response to what the administration says are “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” from Iran. There are plans to send 900 additional troops the Mideast while extending the stay of another 600. Tens of thousands of others are on the ground in the region.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran worsened when the US withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal last year, re-imposed sanctions on the nation and sending its economy into chaos.
Although president Trump tweeted, "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran," both the White House and the Pentagon have reiterated that the purpose of these deployments is for deterrence, not war.