The US will send hundreds of additional troops and a dozen fighter jets to the Middle East in the coming weeks to counter what the Pentagon has said is an escalating campaign by Iran to plan attacks against the US and its interests in the region.
US to deploy 1,500 troops to Middle East amid tensions with Iran
STEPANAKERT, MAY 25, ARTSAKHPRESS: And for the first time, Pentagon officials on Friday publicly blamed Iran and its proxies for recent tanker bombings near United Arab Emirates and a rocket attack in Iraq, according to The Guardian.
Donald Trump told reporters Friday that the 1,500 troops would have a “mostly protective” role as part of a build-up that began this month in response to what the US said was a threat from Iran.
The announcement caps three weeks of elevated tensions with Iran, as the administration hurled accusations of an imminent attack and abruptly deployed navy warships to the region. The moves alarmed members of Congress, who demanded proof and details, amid fears the US was lurching toward open conflict.
Adding to the uncertainty, Trump alternated between tough talk and a more conciliatory message, insisting he is open to negotiations with the Islamic Republic. On Friday he seemed to downplay the prospect of conflict when he spoke at the White House.
“Right now, I don’t think Iran wants to fight and I certainly don’t think they want to fight with us,” he said.
On Saturday, Australia said it was deeply concerned by Iran’s recent comments, but also backed the Iran nuclear deal – officially called the joint comprehensive plan of action – which Trump has heavily criticised.
Australia’s foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, said her government had made its concerns regarding Iran’s destabilising activities well-known.
“Australia continues to urge Iran to exercise restraint and to comply with its commitments,” she said. “The nuclear non-proliferation objectives of the joint comprehensive plan of action are worthy and serve the best interests of peace, stability and regional security. Australia strongly supports these objectives and encourages parties to the plan to redouble their efforts to honour its provisions.”