The US is to send 1,500 troops to the Middle East to counter the "ongoing threat posed by Iranian forces", the acting defence secretary says.
Several recent media reportssaid Pentagon and White House leaders were mulling sending anywhere between 2,000 to 10,000 additional us troops to the region for deterrence purposes.
Earlier this week, officials said the Pentagon had drawn up plans that could have sent up to 10,000 troops to the Middle East.
Pentagon officials said the 1,500 additional troops were in response to recent incidents in the region that U.S. intelligence had tied to Iran's leadership.
Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan said the additions to the region would include "a Patriot battalion to defend against missile threats; additional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft; an engineer element to provide force protection improvements throughout the region; and a fighter aircraft squadron to provide additional deterrence".
A senior Pentagon officer says the USA blames Iran and its proxies for the recent tanker bombings near United Arab Emirates and a rocket attack in Iraq.
Shanahan, however, said that sending additional troops was an option they were considering.
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"The attack against the shipping in Fujairah [part of the UAE], we attribute it to the IRGC", he said on Friday, explaining that limpet mines used in the attacks had been linked directly to the IRGC. "I really don't", Trump said before adding, "I would certainly send troops if we need them".
"I don't think we're going to need them".
"The additional deployment to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility is a prudent defensive measure and meant to reduce the possibility of future hostilities", he said. Shanahan he said his focus right now is determining "the right force protection" in the region. The letter asks the administration not to pursue war with Iran, mainly for strategic reasons.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford briefed the House and Senate Tuesday on President Donald Trump's Iran strategy, including recent intelligence of an increased Iranian threat and the USA reaction to it, the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers and the ordered departure of non-emergency personnel from Iraq.
President Donald Trump's administration also invoked the threat from Iran to declare a national security-related emergency that would clear the sale of billions of dollars' worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries without required congressional approval.
"There is no 10,000, and there is no 5,000". The Trump administration withdrew past year from the 2015 nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and world powers and reinstated American sanctions that have badly damaged the Iranian economy. Iran has denied involvement in the incidents.
Their statements came following President Donald Trump's warnings that if Iran decides to attack the United States or its interests in the region, it would be the "official end" of the Islamic Republic.
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