Amid escalating tensions with Iran, the U.S. military is deploying a Patriot anti-missile battery to the Middle East to further deter threats from Iran, the Pentagon announced on Friday.
The Pentagon will not specify the location but a senior military official said it would arrive “relatively soon.”
“The Department of Defense continues to closely monitor the activities of the Iranian regime, their military and proxies,” the Pentagon said in a statement, adding, “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. Due to operational security, we will not discuss timelines or location of forces.”
The approval to deploy additional military asset against Iran has been done at the request of US Central Command, said the statement.
In addition to the Patriot system, the amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington will also head to the Middle East. The Arlington will replace the USS Fort McHenry, as part of the USS Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group.
The Arlington carries a small contingent of Marine ground troops and aircraft, but the Pentagon also cited the ship’s “command and control capability.”
All the movements are “in response to indications of heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against U.S. forces and our interests,” the Pentagon statement added.
A senior military official told reporters that the Arlington was already slated to eventually be in the region, but its movement will be expedited to provide enhanced command and control capabilities. The Kearsarge transited out of the Persian Gulf on Tuesday, but will remain close by.
Early this week, US Central Command Commander General Kenneth McKenzie alleged that Iranian regime directly engages in far reaching terrorist activities.
“We know that the Iranian regime knows what our military capabilities are and we have a healthy respect for them. And that’s good. And while they have avoided direct military conflict with the United States and our partners they have demonstrated the willingness and ability to attack our people, our interests and our friends and allies in the confusing, complex zone just short of armed conflict,” he said.