Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has authorized sending an additional 1,000 troops (approximately) and additional resources to the Middle East. The deployment comes as tensions rise in the region, following an attack allegedly carried out by Iran on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. However, Shanahan was quick to iterate that the United States is not seeking a conflict with Iran.
Instead, the troops are to be used to bolster the defense of American interests in the region. Sources from the Pentagon have stated that the deployment will include missile defense, reconnaissance aircraft, intelligence, and surveillance assets.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to travel to the Middle East command center. Pompeo claimed over the weekend that the United States is contemplating military action against Iran. However, Pompeo emphasized that all options, including non-military ones, are on the table.
Pompeo’s visit comes as Iran announced that it will break uranium stockpile limits that were agreed upon in the international nuclear accords. Trump pulled the United States out of the agreement in May of 2018. Today, Iran claimed that it would not wage war “against any nation.”
Nancy Pelosi weighed in on the issue as well, calling for the Trump administration to brief Congress. In a statement, Pelosi acknowledged that Iran is a threat but urged caution:
“Americans must have no illusions about the Iranian regime, and must remain committed to holding Iran accountable for its dangerous activities in the region. But we must be strong, smart and strategic —not reckless and rash— in how to proceed.”
Iran has repeatedly denied that it was responsible for the attacks on the oil tankers. Both tankers were affiliated with Japan. The Japanese claim that there is not yet enough evidence to lay blame on Iran.