Line of Defense

U.S. Safeguards in Persian Gulf

The U.S. is placing special ships off the coast of Iran and antimissile systems in at least four Arab countries in an effort to beef up defenses against possible Iranian missile strikes, The New York Times reports. The Obama administration is trying to win a broad international consensus for sanctions against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, a security force that Western countries say is in charge of the military side of the nuclear program. On Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton furthered that goal by warning China not to oppose the sanctions. And General David Petraeus spoke about the antimissile defenses, a rare move intended to increase pressure on Tehran. The U.S. hopes to counter an impression that Iran is developing the most powerful military in the Middle East, forestall an escalation between Iran and the West over sanctions, and convince Israel that military strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities are not immediately necessary.