The US sends the missile system to the Middle East
A warship, USS Arlington, with amphibious aircraft and vehicles on board, will also join the USS Abraham Lincoln strike group in the Gulf.
The US said the moves were a response to a potential threat to US forces in the region by Iran, without demonstrating.
Tehran has clarified the deployments as”psychological warfare” aimed at intimidating the nation.
Iran has also suggested it might resume uranium enrichment atomic actions.
The Pentagon says US forces are reacting to a potential threat to US forces, but didn’t provide any specifics regarding those dangers.
The most current Pentagon announcement on Friday said just that Washington was”prepared to defend US forces and interests in the area”, adding that the US didn’t seek conflict with Iran.
There are approximately 5,200 US troops currently deployed in neighboring Iraq.
Officials told US media the USS Arlington had been scheduled to visit the area, but its installation was brought forward to provide improved command and control capabilities.
Iran’s semi-official Isna news agency quoted a senior Iranian cleric, Yousef Tabatabai-Nejad, as saying that the US military fleet could be”ruined with a single missile”.
What is the condition of US-Iran relations?
This past year, US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal America and other countries had agreed with Iran in 2015.
Under the accord, Iran had agreed to restrict its sensitive nuclear activities and allow in international inspectors in return for sanctions relief.
The White House jumped to profit exemptions from sanctions for five countries – China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey – which were buying Iranian oil.
The sanctions have contributed to a sharp recession in Iran’s market, pushing the value of its money to record highs, driving away foreign investors, and triggering protests.
The Trump government hopes to induce Iran to negotiate a”new deal” that would cover not just its nuclear activities, but also its ballistic missile programme and what officials predict its”malign behaviour” throughout the Middle East.
Iran has repeatedly threatened to retaliate to the US steps by blocking the Strait of Hormuz – though that about a fifth of all oil consumed internationally pass.
Before this week Iran announced that it had suspended two responsibilities under the 2015 accord in response to the economic sanctions that the US had re-imposed.
Additionally, it threatened to step up uranium enrichment if it wasn’t protected from the sanctions’ effects within 60 days.
European forces said they remained committed to the Iran nuclear deal but that they”refuse any ultimatums” from Tehran to prevent its collapse.
Pressure or more?
The actual battle for the destiny of the Iran nuclear deal has started.
In the year since the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the deal, Iran and all the other parties have carried on regardless. Along with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the international nuclear watchdog, has given Tehran a clean bill of health. Iran has been living up to its part of the deal.
But Iranian compliance wasn’t the issue for the Trump government, which states simply that this is a bad thing. The US’s main European allies, along with Russia and China, disagree. So the Trump administration has been ratcheting up the pressure on Tehran.
The pressure on Iran’s economy has been severe and the Iranian government has decided to act – stating it will no longer honor restrictions on preserving enriched uranium and heavy water, and setting deadlines for the other parties to implement their responsibilities.
A tricky few weeks of diplomacy lie ahead, without a promise of success. The Trump government must see its ultimate aim – the collapse of the nuclear deal – as now being in sight. However, the danger of conflict – albeit by accident rather than design – is growing