A US Navy aircraft carrier
The USS Ronald Reagan, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier (representational image) | Anthony Kwan | Bloomberg
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‘Not seeking war with Iran, but fully prepared to respond to any attack’

In an unusual move, the US National Security Advisor John Bolton announced deployment of carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East in warning to Iran.

Bolton said in a statement the US was deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group as a response to Iran’s “number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings”.

“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,” said Bolton.

The Middle East region lies in America’s Central Command. According to Al Jazeera, it is not unusual for the US to deploy aircraft carriers in the region, but it is being considered escalatory given Bolton’s statement.

In response, Kevan Khosravi, spokesperson for Iran’s National Security Council said, “Bolton’s statement is a clumsy use of an out-of-date event for psychological warfare.”

As of now, there is no clarity about the precise location of the US’ aircraft carriers.

Istanbul to again vote for mayoral election on 23 June

Turkey’s electoral body has announced that the recently concluded elections in Istanbul would be conducted again. The re-election would be held again on 23 June.

This comes after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party lost the city’s elections to the opposition CHP party.

AK Party, which claimed there were “irregularities and corruption”, questioned the election results.

Responding to this development, CHP’s Deputy Chair Onursal Adiguzel said it was “illegal to win against the AK Party.”

“The system that overrules the will of the people and disregards the law is neither democratic, nor legitimate,” Adiguzel said in a tweet.

Erdogan used to be the mayor of Istanbul before he went to lead Turkey. On several occasions he had said, “Whoever wins Istanbul, wins Turkey.” And according to BBC’s Turkey correspondent, Mark Lowen, Erdogan is adamant on winning back Istanbul.

But, this is likely to send a risky message across the globe. Erdogan has already been accused of turning Turkey to an authoritarian state from a democracy. And this recent move is likely to further add to that perception.

In other news:

We are destroying our own home: UN report reveals nature crisis, Al Jazeera

Official Thai Election Results May Herald Pro-Junta Government, Bloomberg

Daim Zainuddin to ministers in Mahathir’s Malaysia: work with civil servants, ignore Najib, stop talking behind colleagues’ backs, South China Morning Post

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