The United States is pulling some of its anti-aircraft and missile batteries out of the Middle East, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, citing U.S. military officials.
The Pentagon will pull out four Patriot missile systems from Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain next month, the report said, adding that the realignment step marks a shift of focus away from long-lasting conflicts in the Middle East and Afghanistan to tensions with China, Russia and Iran.
Two Patriot missile systems will be redeployed from Kuwait, and one each from Jordan and Bahrain, the report said. Patriots are mobile missile systems capable of shooting down missiles and planes.
The report comes amid rising rhetoric against Iran from the United States, which earlier this year pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 2015 deal in which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear work in return for the lifting of most Western sanctions. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accused the United States on Tuesday of trying to overthrow his government, rejecting bilateral talks after President Donald Trump denounced Iran's leaders and predicted stepped-up U.S. sanctions would get Tehran to negotiate over its nuclear program.
Addressing world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly, Rouhani accused the Trump administration of violating the rules of international law and "state obligations" from the Obama administration by withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran signed with the U.S. and five other major powers.
"On what basis and criteria can we enter into an agreement with an administration misbehaving such as this?" Rouhani asked, The Associated Press (AP) reported. "It is ironic that the U.S. government does not even conceal its plan for overthrowing the same government it invites to talks."
Rouhani invited the U.S. to come back to negotiations within the U.N. Security Council, which endorsed the nuclear deal. There, he said, both sides can listen to each other. Meanwhile, Russia and the United States have been facing diplomatic rifts over Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, involvement in the Syrian conflict and alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.