Published: Mon, May 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump sends more B-52s to Gulf and tells Iran: 'Call me'

Trump sends more B-52s to Gulf and tells Iran: 'Call me'

The U.S. will move a Patriot missile battery into the Middle East to counter threats from Iran, the Pentagon said Friday, reflecting ongoing concerns that Tehran may be planning to attack U.S. forces or interests in the region.

"The Acting Secretary of Defence has approved the movement of USS Arlington and a Patriot battery to the US Central Command as part of the Command's original request for forces earlier this week", CNN quoted a Pentagon statement as saying on Friday.

There was no immediate reaction from Tehran on the latest United States moves, but earlier in the week it shrugged off the carrier deployment. "If U.S. 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.

Iran dismissed the claim as nonsense.

And last month the White House said it would end exemptions from sanctions for five countries - China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey - that were still buying Iranian oil.

The latest Pentagon statement on Friday said only that Washington was "ready to defend U.S. forces and interests in the region", adding that the USA did not seek conflict with Iran.

The United States is deploying an amphibious assault ship and a Patriot missile battery to bolster an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers already sent to the Gulf, ratcheting up pressure on Saturday on archfoe Iran. The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and accompanying ships have passed through the Suez Canal and are now in the Red Sea.

Amid the rising tensions, Trump said Thursday he is open to talks with Tehran's leadership. The Islamic Republic has dismissed the USA contention of a threat as "fake intelligence".

Last Friday, a Pentagon official said the United States had detected "anomalous naval activity" by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and commercial ships suspected of carrying missiles and other military hardware.

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Following the exit of Obama regime, the U.S. administration has hardened its position on Iran, and towed its line in accordance to the concerns raised by long-time ally Israel.

Trump made the offer as he increased economic and military pressure on Iran, moving to cut off all Iranian oil exports this month while beefing up the USA navy and air force presence in the Gulf.

Meanwhile, in another development, it was confirmed that American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln has arrived in the US Fifth Fleet area of operations in the Middle East.

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 US ships by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, sources told NBC News.

"We will hold the Iranian regime accountable for any attack on United States forces or our interests". Trump on Wednesday ordered new sanctions for Iranian metals, Tehran's largest export revenue source.

Also, Iran announced plans to withdraw from parts of the 2015 nuclear deal this week, one year after the US left the agreement.

We recall that in the neighboring Iraq about 5 200 USA troops are now deployed.

It also threatened to step up uranium enrichment if it was not shielded from the sanctions' effects within 60 days.

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