The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (Picture: US Department of Defense).
A US aircraft carrier the White House ordered to the Middle East over a perceived threat from Iran remains outside the Persian Gulf amid efforts to de-escalate tensions between Tehran and Washington.
The USS Abraham Lincoln was in the Arabian Sea on Monday, 200 miles off the coast of Oman, after being deployed last month as a warning to Iran.
The move followed "clear indications" that Iranian and Iranian proxy forces were preparing to possibly attack US forces in the region, a defence official told the Associated Press at the time.
US forces at sea and on land were thought to be the potential targets.
While US Navy officials repeatedly declined to discuss why they had not gone through the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf, they insisted they remain ready to launch any mission in the region.
However, Captain Putnam Browne, commanding officer of the Lincoln, said: "You don't want to inadvertently escalate something."
The White House ordered the Lincoln and its strike group to speed to the Middle East in May. It also sent B-52 bombers and ordered hundreds of troops to the area.
The Abraham Lincoln and its strike group of ships and combat aircraft have been operating in the Mediterranean recently.
Mr Bolton's mention of deploying a bomber task force suggests the Pentagon is deploying land-based bomber aircraft somewhere in the region, perhaps on the Arabian Peninsula.
The Trump administration has been intensifying a pressure campaign against Iran.
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump announced the US will no longer exempt any countries from US sanctions if they continue to buy Iranian oil, a decision that primarily affects the five remaining major importers: China and India, and US treaty allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey.
The US also recently designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group, the first ever for an entire division of another government.
Mr Trump withdrew from the Obama administration's landmark nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018 and, in the months that followed, reimposed punishing sanctions including those targeting Iran's oil, shipping and banking sectors.