Washington: Tensions are mounting in the Middle East after the United States have ordered additional Patriot missiles to the region after intelligence indicated that Iran might threaten US forces.
A Pentagon statement said, “The Acting Secretary of Defense has approved the movement for USS Arlington and a Patriot Battery to US Central Command as part of the command’s original request for forces earlier this week.”
Intelligence reports say that Iran is moving short range ballistic and cruise missiles aboard boats in Persian Gulf. The US believes that these missiles could be launched from small Iranian boats.
Meanwhile, the US aircraft carrier, USS Abraham Lincoln, passed through Egypt’s Suez Canal on Thursday and is sailing in the Red Sea.
Citing the Iranian threat as real and credible a defense official said that USS Arlington’s deployment and moving of the Patriot missiles to the region is meant to be defensive in nature. However, the official refrained from disclosing the location where the additional Patriot missiles will be deployed.
While US is stepping up its military presence in the region as a warning sign to Iranian leadership, the military leadership of Iran has clarified that they will not negotiate with the US.
A Senior Commander of the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Lieutenant Commander Brigadier General, Yadollah Javani said, “Negotiations with Americans will not take place, and Americans will not dare to take military action against us.”
The US Maritime Administration has also said that Iran could target US commercial ships including oil tankers. Maritime Administration said that there is a heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against the US forces and its interests.
Tehran had threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz through which about a fifth of oil used globally is passed.
Earlier on Thursday, Trump said that he could not rule out a military confrontation.
Reports also say that the American B-52 bombers have arrived at the US base in Qatar.
US and Iran were at loggerheads since 2015 after Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. The sudden mounting of tensions began after the US stopped the waivers that had allowed some countries to buy Iranian oil.