June 18, 2019
- Fears of a confrontation between Iran and US have mounted since last Thursday
- Troops being deployed for “defensive purposes” amid concerns about threat from Iran
A handout picture provided by the Saudi Ministry of Defence on June 16, 2019 shows Saudi F-15 Eagles flying in formation with their US Air Force counterparts and a USAF KC-135E Stratotanker jet (top) in the US CENTCOM area of responsibility, on June 2. (AFP)
DUBAI/WASHINGTON – Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced on Monday the deployment of about 1,000 more troops to the Middle East for what he said were “defensive purposes,” citing concerns about a threat from Iran.
“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,” Shanahan said in a statement.
Reuters first reported plans to send US additional troops to the Middle East earlier on Monday.
Fears of a confrontation between Iran and the US have mounted since last Thursday when two oil tankers were attacked, more than a year after President Donald Trump announced Washington was withdrawing from a 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran said on Monday it would soon breach limits on how much enriched uranium it can stockpile under the deal, which a White House National Security Council spokesman said amounted to “nuclear blackmail.”