Missiles and a portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran.
(photo credit: NAZANIN TABATABAEE YAZDI/ TIMA VIA REUTERS)
Intelligence received by the US showed that Iran is likely to move short-range ballistic missiles aboard boats in the Persian Gulf, according to a CNN report. This was one of the main reasons the US decided to move an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the Middle East, according to several officials who are knowledgeable about the situation.
This intelligence, along with other threads of intelligence from multiple sources, led the US to believe that Iran was able and ready to launch strikes against US targets or US interests.
The US has seen "indications that Iranian and Iranian proxy forces were making preparations to possibly attack US forces in the region," said US Central Command spokesperson Capt. Bill Urban on Tuesday.
It's unclear if the missiles were intended to be launched from boats or by Iranian forces on land, according to CNN
The Pentagon is considering sending more firepower to the region, including anti-missile defense systems, according to the officials. No final decision has been made on additional deployments of Patriot missile batteries, but the officials stated that if the Iranians step back, the batteries might not be necessary.
The US is concerned about Iran targeting US and coalition forces in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar. US military and intelligence officials are keeping track of the movement of the Iranian missiles constantly, but have not seen a pullback yet.
There are additional concerns that Iranian-backed forces in Yemen could threaten transit in the Red Sea. Iran may also strike US troops in Iraq and Syria.
US National Security Advisor John Bolton announced on Sunday that the US is deploying a bomber task force and an aircraft carrier to send a message to Iran.Axios
reported on Monday that the move was made partially due to information that the US received from Israel concerning an alleged Iranian plot to attack American interests in the Gulf. Iranian officials have denied the existence of any threat and have claimed that the US had moved the vessels a month ago.
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