The Pentagon announced the deployment of an assault ship and a Patriot missile battery to the Arabian Gulf to counter the alleged threats from Iran. The USS Arlington carrying military vehicles, aircrafts, Patriot air defence system and marines will join the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a B-52 bomber task force that has already been deployed there.

The Pentagon said in a statement Friday: “The deployment is in response to indications of heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against U.S. forces and our interests. The Department of Defense continues to closely monitor the activities of the Iranian regime, their military and proxies.The United States does not seek conflict with Iran, but we are postured and ready to defend U.S. forces and interests in the region."

The USS Abraham Lincoln strike group was deployed earlier this week in response to what the Administration called a "serious threat" from Iran. National Security Adviser John Bolton said the deployment was a “clear and unmistakable” message to Iran about any attacks against U.S. forces and interests.  Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Wednesday told a Senate Appropriation Defence subcommittee that intelligence reports suggest a very possible attack on U.S. forces by Iran.

The Pentagon has not elaborated on the current threat. But NBC News reported that the specific threats include possible missile attacks by Iranian ships in the Persian Gulf, attacks in Iraq and against U.S. ships by Iranian- trained Shiite militias and Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Tensions have escalated after Iran decided to withdraw from parts of  the 2015 nuclear deal this week, a year after the U.S. left the agreement. Trump on Wednesday ordered new sanctions for Iranian metals, Tehran’s largest export revenue source. The U.S. also pressured other nations to stop buying oil from Tehran. Also, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. Iran had threatened to retaliate by blocking the Strait of Hormuz, through which almost a third of the world's oil exports flow, reported CNBC.

According to the officials, the USS Arlington was already scheduled to go to the region and the sudden deployment was just to enhance the existing command and control capabilities. Iran reportedly has dismissed the threat warning as nonsense and described the deployment as “psychological warfare” to intimidate the country.