US to deploy specialised ships off Iranian coast

US is speeding up deployment of missile shield systems against what they say potential Iranian missile attacks in the Gulf, NYT reported.

US to deploy specialised ships off Iranian coast

The US administration is speeding up deployment of missile shield systems against what they say potential Iranian missile attacks in the Gulf, The New York Times reported Saturday.

The move involves placing "specialized ships" off the Iranian coast and anti-missile systems in at least four Arab countries -- Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait -- the Times said, citing administration and military officials.

Oman has also been approached, although no Patriot missiles have been deployed there yet, US officials told the newspaper, citing that the "willingness" of other Arab states to accept the US defenses.

"Our first goal is to deter the Iranians," a senior administration official told the newspaper. "A second is to reassure the Arab states, so they don't feel they have to go nuclear themselves. But there is certainly an element of calming the Israelis as well."

The deployments could also forestall any Iranian retaliation in response to the sanctions, as well as discourage staunch US ally Israel from launching a military strike against Tehran's nuclear and military facilities.

General David Petraeus, who heads the US Central Command that oversees US military operations stretching from the Gulf to Central Asia, said the sped-up deployment of missile systems included eight Patriot missile batteries, "two in each of four countries."

The unusually public comments about the accelerated deployments, which began under President Barack Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, came during an address at the Institute for the Study of War in Washington on January 22.

The defenses are being stepped up in advance of possible increased sanctions against Iran.

Israel, most experts estimate that it has at least between 100 and 200 nuclear warheads, often threatens Iran an attack over its nuclear sites.


Agencies

Last Mod: 01 Şubat 2010, 11:03
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