The Pentagon just made an announcement about sending an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East to deal with Iran’s recent hostile action of oil tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman. The United States blamed Iran for the attacks.
The move follows after the U.S. Central Command release additional photos relating to the oil tanker attacks, strengthening the evidence that Iran was behind it.
Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said in a statement “In response to a request from the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) 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.”
“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,” he added.
“The United States does not seek conflict with Iran. 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. We will continue to monitor the situation diligently and make adjustments to force levels as necessary given intelligence reporting and credible threats,” the statement continued.
The troops deployed are from a request by U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Frank McKenzie, who is in charge of U.S. forces in the Middle East.
The Pentagon has increased the number of troops deployed to the Middle East. In early May, the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and a task force of B-52 bombers were deployed in response to possible attack threats by Iran against U.S. forces or interests in the region. Later that same month, an additional 1,500 troops were also sent to the area to continue to deter Iran.
Last month, while departing to Japan for a state visit, President Trump said that troops sent to the Middle East a “relatively small number.”
“We want to have protection,” the President told reporters. “We’ll be sending a relatively small number of troops — mostly protective. Some very talented people are going to the Middle East, right now. We’ll see what happens.”
On Monday, Iran announced that within 10 days it would breach the limit on uranium stockpiles under the 2015 nuclear agreement with the U.S. and five other world powers that restrains Iran’s nuclear program for relaxing international sanctions. The U.S. pulled out from the deal last year, blaming that Iran lied about its nuclear program, the other five superpowers remain committed to it.