The U.S. is assigning 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East as tensions with Iran continue to expand after recent attacks on two oil tankers, which the U.S. says were carried out by Iranian forces.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan proclaimed the new troop deployment in a statement Monday, saying U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) requested the forces for defensive purposes to address air, naval and ground-based menaces in the Middle East.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan further said the recent Iranian attacks confirm the reliable, dependable intelligence we have got on unfriendly behaviour by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that endanger United States personnel and interests across the region.
“The United States does not seek battle with Iran. The action today is being taken to secure the security and welfare of our military personnel working throughout the region and to defend our national interests,” Shanahan said.
The move comes just days after the attacks on the oil tankers in one of the world’s most important shipping routes, which the U.S. says were carried out by Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Iranian government denies
The Iranian government has denied involvement in the attacks. The country’s atomic agency said Monday it was increasing its production of uranium and will surpass the limit allowed under the 2015 nuclear deal within 10 days. President Trump announced he was withdrawing the U.S. from that accord in 2018.