Sunday, 13 October, 2019

United States deploys warship and missiles to Middle East amid Iran tensions

US sends carrier, bombers to Middle East as Iran tensions increase US deploying more Patriot missiles to Middle East, amid Iranian threats
Patty Aguilar | 13 May, 2019, 10:34

United States Central Command (Centcom), the USA forces for the Middle East and Afghanistan, said in a tweet on Friday that the B-52 bombers arrived at the area of operations on May 8, without saying where they had landed.

The USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group is now in the Red Sea, having been moved to the region earlier this week after US officials said Iran had moved short-range ballistic missiles onto boats on its shore.

Tensions between the USA and Iran have erupted since Trump took office, with Tehran's Revolutionary Guard explicitly saying it would not enter into negotiations with Washington. While it previously used economic pressure, the U.S.is now militarily threatening Tehran with new deployments to the Central Command region.

Iran has dismissed the American troop build-up as "psychological warfare" created to intimidate it.

The U.S. also pressured other nations to stop buying oil from Tehran.

The Pentagon has approved the deployment of a Navy ship and a Patriot missile defense battery to the Middle East, amid increasing tensions between the United States and Iran.

United States officials announced Sunday that they would rush an aircraft carrier strike group and nuclear-capable bombers to the region.

But Iranian compliance was not the issue for the Trump administration, which says simply that this is a bad deal.

Vice Admiral Jim Malloy, commander of the US Navy's Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet, told Reuters on Thursday that American intelligence showing a threat from Iran will not prevent him from sending the USS Abraham Lincoln through the vital Strait of Hormuz, if needed.

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The new deployments, planning efforts and intelligence analysis came after the United States developed new information last weekend about Iran mobilising its proxy forces.

Iran has responded by scaling back some curbs on its nuclear program concerning material stockpiles though it remains compliant with commitments to restrict its uranium enrichment activity.

The media officer at Al Udaid air base, near Doha, Qatar, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the arrival of the B-52 bombers.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he visited Iraq - where Iranian-backed armed groups operate - instead of Germany on 7 May due to the threat.

CNN quoting a diplomatic source reported on Friday that the White House contacted the Swiss government on Thursday to share a phone number the Iranians could call US President Donald Trump on. The Abraham Lincoln crossed the Suez Canal on its way to the Arabian Gulf waters on Thursday.

The beefed-up presence comes amid reports of possible planned missile attacks by small Iranian ships in the Persian Gulf; attacks in Iraq by Iranian-trained Shiite militia and attacks against USA ships by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, sources told NBC News.

U.S. -Iranian tensions have risen since Trump withdrew a year ago from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and major powers and began ratcheting up sanctions to throttle Tehran's economy.

Meanwhile, the United States aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, also deployed as a warning to Iran, passed through Egypt's Suez Canal on Thursday, reaching the Red Sea.

Iran on Wednesday threatened to enrich its uranium stockpile closer to weapons-grade levels if Europe, China and Russian Federation fail to deliver sanctions relief within 60 days.

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