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Arab states warn of the potential for a nuclear arms race in the Gulf region if Iran develops a bomb, and they see Iran’s expanding missile capability as an even more immediate threat.

The United Arab Emirates is one of four Gulf countries that host U.S. Patriot missile batteries, U.S. military officials said on condition of anonymity because some aspects of the defensive strategy are classified.

The Patriot missile systems, which originally were deployed in the region to shoot down aircraft, now have been upgraded to hit missiles in flight, such as those that Iran one day might fire.