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US, Gulf allies pursue Iranian missile shield

The US and its Gulf allies are pursuing a regional missile shield against Iranian attack to protect cities, pipelines and military bases, say government officials.

Navid satellite iran 03 02 2012Enlarge
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during the unveiling ceremony of new satellite rockets in Tehran on February 3, 2010. (ROHOLLAH VAHDATI/AFP/Getty Images)

In the Persian Gulf, the US and its Arab allies are working on a regional missile defense system in case of an attack from Iran, The New York Times reported, citing government officials and public documents.

The plan is both meant to send a message to Tehran in addition to protecting "cities, oil refineries, pipelines and military bases from a possible strike" the Times reported.

UPDATE: The news comes as Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak suggested that the US has new intelligence about Iran's nuclear plans, CBS News reported.

Speaking to Israeli Radio and writing in Haaretz newspaper, Barak said "apparently a report by American intelligence agencies ... is making the rounds in high offices" and "as far as we know... It transforms the Iranian situation to an even more urgent one."

More from GlobalPost: 14 brazen examples of Iranian agents stealing technology from the US

As UPI reported, Washington has been seeking cooperation from regional allies for some time, encouraging countries such as Bahrain to Saudi Arabia to join in a shield against Iranian aggression.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reportedly first raised the issue three years ago, according to UPI.

"Sometimes to defend one nation effectively you might need a radar system in a neighboring nation," Clinton said in March at the Gulf Cooperation Council. "It’s the cooperation ... that we now need to really roll up our sleeves and get to work on."

The New York Times wrote much of the effort has been mostly behind the scenes with "billions of dollars in arms sales" negotiated bilaterally between Washington and the other nations.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/120809/us-gulf-allies-pursue-iranian-missile-shield