The Trump administration plans to send 1,000 more troops as well as additional military resources to the Middle East as tensions with Iran continue to simmer, the Defense Department announced Monday.
“In response to a request from the US Central Command for additional forces, and with the advice of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and in consultation with the White House, I have authorized approximately 1,000 additional troops for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the Middle East,” read a statement from acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.
“United States does not seek conflict with Iran,” Shanahan said, but he highlighted recent threatening behavior by the state terror sponsor that could endanger U.S. forces.
“The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region,” the defense secretary said.
Last month, the Trump administration deployed four bombers as well as the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier-strike group to the Persian Gulf amid fears that Iran was transporting short-range ballistic missiles in the region.
Meanwhile, two oil tankers were apparently attacked in the Gulf of Oman last week, suffering a series of explosions that injured crew members. The U.S. Navy responded to the disaster offering assistance.
Iran’s supreme leader also said this month that the U.S. would be powerless to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons should it so desire and said no further negotiations with American leaders are forthcoming.
“The action today is being taken to ensure the safety and welfare of our military personnel working throughout the region and to protect our national interests,” Shanahan said. “We will continue to monitor the situation diligently and make adjustments to force levels as necessary given intelligence reporting and credible threats.”