Patrick Shanahan
Patrick Shanahan Reuters

Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has approved a new deployment of Patriot missiles to the Middle East, a US official told Reuters on Friday.

The move is the latest US response to what Washington sees as a growing threat from Iran.

Earlier this week, Shanahan approved the deployment of a US carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East, citing "indications of a credible threat" by Iran.

Officials later told CNN that one of the reasons for the deployment was intelligence showing that Iran is likely moving short-range ballistic missiles aboard boats in the Persian Gulf.

Tensions have risen between the US and Iran over the past year, after President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

The US has since imposed two rounds of sanctions on Iran, the latest of which went into effect in early November. Those sanctions aim to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero in a bid to curb the Islamic Republic’s missile program and regional influence.

On Thursday, President Donald Trump urged the Iranian regime to agree to talks with the US aimed at ending its nuclear program – while hinting that the US could use military force against Iran.

Asked by reporters whether there was a risk of military confrontation with the Islamic Republic, Trump replied, “I guess you could say that always, right? I don’t want to say no, but hopefully that won’t happen. We have one of the most powerful ships in the world that is loaded up and we don’t want to do anything.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

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