Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah addressed a tweet to Senator Josh Hawley denying a Wall Street Journal report saying the Trump administration is planning to send an additional 14,000 troops to the Middle East to confront Iran.
Following a CNN report that U.S. intelligence agencies are concerned about a military threat from Iran, The Wall Street Journal reported the Trump administration is considering to double the U.S. military presence in the region.
Such a significant boost to the American military presence would be aimed at deterring Iran from any attack on U.S. troops and interests or providing options if an attack takes place.
Since May when U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil exports were tightened, Tehran has been flexing its muscles and a string of attacks on oil tankers, downing of a U.S. drone by Iran and a large strike on Saudi oil installations blamed on Iran have raised tensions.
Currently, the U.S. has 14,000 military personnel in the region and although President Donald Trump had vowed to reduce U.S. troops deployed in various conflict zones around the world, a big increase in troop levels now is a significant move.
The WSJ said the plan to deploy more forces to the Middle East might have come about at the behest of Israel, which is deeply worried about threats Iran poses to Western allies and the Jewish state.
Other reports on Wednesday said the U.S. navy seized a small ship in the Arabian Sea transporting suspected Iranian missile parts to Yemen.
The Islamic Republic was gripped by the worst unrest in its 40-year history, as protesters in more than 100 cities came out in defiance of the clerical regime. Top Iranian officials have blamed U.S. plots to incite unrest in the country, although they have not presented any evidence.