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US dispatches 1,000 more troops to Middle East as tensions with Iran rise

By Caoimhe Toman

Date: Tuesday 18 Jun 2019

US dispatches 1,000 more troops to Middle East as tensions with Iran rise

(Sharecast News) - The US government is sending an extra 1,000 troops to the Middle East in response to rising tensions with Iran and its "hostile behaviour".
Patrick Shanahan, the acting US defence secretary, announced on Monday: "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."

Shanahan referred to the attacks on two oil tanker ships last week in the Gulf of Oman that Washington blamed on Iran.

The US administration released photos of the attacks on Monday that Washington said proved the Ayatollahs were behind the attacks.

The acting secretary 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."

For its part, on Monday Tehran said that it would soon breach the treaty limits on how much enriched uranium it can stockpile under the nuclear deal (officially called the JCPOA) from which the US withdrew from in 2015 bringing back the tension in relations as it set sanctions on the country.

A spokesman for the White House National Security Council said the move amounted to "nuclear blackmail".

Morgan Ortagus, a spokeswoman for the state department said on Monday: "We continue to call on the Iranian regime not to obtain a nuclear weapon, to abide by their commitments to the international community.

"It's unfortunate that they have made this announcement today. It doesn't surprise anybody and this is why the president has often said that the JCPOA needs to be replaced with a better deal."

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