U.S. removing some missile systems from Middle East: WSJ

(Reuters) - The United States is pulling some of its anti-aircraft and missile batteries out of the Middle East, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing U.S. military officials.

The Pentagon will pull out four Patriot missile systems from Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain next month, the report said, adding that the realignment step marks a shift of focus away from long-lasting conflicts in the Middle East and Afghanistan to tensions with China, Russia and Iran.

Two Patriot missile systems will be redeployed from Kuwait, and one each from Jordan and Bahrain, the report said. Patriots are mobile missile systems capable of shooting down missiles and planes.

The report comes amid rising rhetoric against Iran from the United States, which earlier this year pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 2015 deal in which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear work in return for the lifting of most Western sanctions.

Meanwhile, Russia and the United States have been facing diplomatic rifts over Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, involvement in the Syrian conflict and alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Arun Koyyur