The United States military has announced its decision to send an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East as tensions build with Iran.
Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan said the deployment will serve “defensive purposes”, in response to “hostile behaviour” by Iranian forces.
“The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behaviour by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region,” Shanahan said in a statement.
“The United States does not seek conflict with Iran,” Shanahan said in his statement, adding the new deployment aimed “to ensure the safety and welfare of our military personnel working throughout the region and to protect our national interests”.
This move comes as US Navy released new photos it says link Iran to attacks last week on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Iran has denied the allegations.
The 1,000 additional troops will join some 1,500 additional troops sent last month. Washington also sent warships and a Patriot missile defence battery to the region, citing unspecified threats from Iran.
Tehran has also set a 10-day deadline for world powers to fulfil their commitments under a multilateral nuclear deal, saying it will otherwise surpass its uranium stockpile limit mandated by the accord.