Is John Bolton about to get the Iran war he's always wanted, or is he on the verge of losing his job?
Over the past several days, President Trump's national security adviser has made comments and issued statements about Iran and Venezuela that are usually reserved for the run-up to military campaigns.
Yet Bolton's boss doesn't seem to be playing along.
On Sunday, the White House released a statement, attributed to Bolton, that the United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf. The aim: "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." The message added: "The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces."
A U.S. official said the deployment was in response to "clear indications" of a "possible attack" by Iran or its proxies.
Although Tehran announced on Monday that it would restart some of its suspended nuclear activities to mark the year anniversary of the U.S. departure from its commitments, for its part, the Iranian regime isn't taking Bolton's bait yet.
Last month, the United States designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization; Tehran predictably responded by branding all U.S. forces in the Middle East as terrorists in turn. Aside from their rhetoric, however, the Iranians have made no other visible moves to ratchet up tensions between the two countries.
Meanwhile, in recent weeks Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has been signaling his government's desire to negotiate a new nuclear deal with Washington. It's worth recalling that th..