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Pentagon greenlights additional military deployment to counter Iran

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-05-11 12:52

US Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan testifies before a House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing on the Department of Defense - FY2020 Budget request on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, May 1, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - US Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan agreed to send an amphibious transport dock and air defense system to the Middle East, Pentagon said in a statement on Friday.

Shanahan has approved the US Central Command's request earlier this week of deploying the amphibious transport dock USS Arlington and a Patriot missile battery to the Middle East, said the statement.

USS Arlington is a San Antonio-class ship with the capability to support amphibious assault, special operations, or expeditionary warfare missions, according to the statement.

The statement also said the amphibious transport dock also provides command and control capability and interoperability with US regional allies.

The Patriot missile system is a long-range air defense system to intercept incoming missiles and aircraft.

USS Arlington fires a rolling airframe missile (RAM) during a live-fire missile exercise in a file photo in 2018. [Photo/IC]

This latest deployment came days after the White House announcement of sending the Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier group and bombers to the region.

These newly deployed assets would respond to "indications of heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against US forces and our interests," the Pentagon statement noted.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed such accusations. "If US and clients don't feel safe, it's because they're despised by the people of the region -- blaming Iran won't reverse that," he tweeted Tuesday.

Over the recent weeks, Washington has ratcheted up pressure against Tehran with a series of sanctions, designations and military threats.

In response, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Wednesday announced Tehran's withdrawal from complying with the restrictions posed by the Iran nuclear deal on the country's enriched uranium reserves and heavy water supplies.

Rouhani also set a 60-day deadline for the remaining parties to the deal to fulfill their obligations, particularly in preserving Iran's interests in the areas of banking and oil.

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