Washington: Amid escalating tensions between the United States and Iran, the Pentagon on Friday approved the deployment of a Patriot missile defence battery and a Navy ship to the Middle East
The Pentagon said the deployment was “in response to indications of heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against U.S. forces and our interests,” Anadolu Agency reported.
It follows the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the region earlier this week.
Acting Defence Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan told Fox News that the Patriot battery is “a long-range, all-weather air defence system to counter tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft.”
While the USS Arlington is a navy ship that transports marines, amphibious vehicles, conventional landing craft and aircraft that have the capabilities to support an amphibious assault.
“These assets will join the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a U.S. Air Force bomber task force in the Middle East region in response to indications of heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against U.S. forces and our interests,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
Washington’s move is the latest in a series of actions aimed at exerting pressure on Iran. While it previously used economic sanctions, the US is now militarily threatening Tehran with new deployments to the Central Command region.
Last year in November, the Trump administration re-imposed sanctions on Iranian oil exports following the United States’ withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Recently, Washington also ended sanctions waivers for countries buying Iranian oil with effect from May 1.
“The United States does not seek conflict with Iran, but we are postured and ready to defend U.S. forces and interests in the region,” the Pentagon said.