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The US is sending a battery of Patriot missiles to join the carrier strike group and bomber task force currently "protecting" American interests in the Middle East from Iran, still insisting the buildup is merely defensive. The missiles and transport ship USS Arlington are being deployed to the region "in response to indications of heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against US forces and our interests," according to a Pentagon statement. While the Pentagon continues to insist it "does not seek conflict with Iran," it is "postured and ready to defend US forces and interests in the region," according to the statement.