The Obama administration is increasing the speed at which the U.S. is deploying military defenses in the Persian Gulf, putting ships and anti-missile systems in the area in response to worries about a possible Iranian missile attack and in an effort to put pressure on Tehran. –JCL

The New York Times:

The Obama administration is accelerating the deployment of new defenses against possible Iranian missile attacks in the Persian Gulf, placing special ships off the Iranian coast and antimissile systems in at least four Arab countries, according to administration and military officials.

The deployments come at a critical turning point in President Obama’s dealings with Iran. After months of unsuccessful diplomatic outreach, the administration is trying to win broad international consensus for sanctions against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, which Western nations say control a covert nuclear arms program.

Mr. Obama spoke of the shift in his State of the Union address, warning of “consequences” if Iran continued to defy United Nations demands to stop manufacturing nuclear fuel. And Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton publicly warned China on Friday that its opposition to sanctions was shortsighted.

The news that the United States is deploying antimissile defenses — including a rare public discussion of them by Gen. David H. Petraeus — appears to be part of a coordinated administration strategy to increase pressure on Iran.

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