Published: Fri, May 24, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

US Could Send More Troops To Mideast Amid Iran Tensions: Pentagon Chief

US Could Send More Troops To Mideast Amid Iran Tensions: Pentagon Chief

Pentagon officials are expected to meet with members of the White House national security team as soon as Thursday to discuss a plan, CNN reported citing three USA officials familiar with the matter.

In a separate report, The Associated Press news agency quoted unidentified officials as saying that the Pentagon on Thursday would present plans to the White House to send up to 10,000 more troops to the Middle East. "I would certainly send troops if we need them".

"It may involve sending additional troops".

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have been steadily escalating in recent weeks, as Trump tightens sanctions meant to cut off Iran's ability to sell oil on global markets.

The proposal from U.S. Central Command, which oversees the Middle East, comes as the military seeks to address what officials have described as a spike in threats against U.S. forces, detected by U.S. intelligence streams, from Iran and its proxy groups.

The new CENTCOM request for additional defensive capabilities and forces comes as Shanahan said on Tuesday that the threat of Iranian attacks against USA forces had been put "on hold".

The United States says the steps are aimed at preventing conflict by deterring any unsafe activity by Iran or Iran-backed forces.

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USA officials have said there are credible threats from Iran against US forces and American interests in the Middle East. But Iran has accused the United States of brinksmanship.

"Our biggest focus at this point is to prevent Iranian miscalculation", Acting Defense Secretary Parick Shanahan told reporters after the briefing.

"There is no 10,000 and there is no 5,000".

FILE PHOTO - Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan arrives to testify before a Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing on the proposed FY2020 budget for the Defense Department on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 8, 2019.

"There haven't been any attacks on Americans", Shanahan said.

Relations between Iran and the United States have plummeted since previous year when President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Iran that curbed Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling economic sanctions. Officials said the move is not in response to any new threat from Iran but is aimed at reinforcing security in the region.

He also said he was willing to negotiate.

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