In light of recent tensions with Iran, the United States plans to send some 1,500 additional troops to the Middle East. They would take over "protective" information there, US President Donald Trump said on Friday in Washington.
Trump again accused the Iranian leadership of spreading "terror around the world". He also said, "I don't think Iran wants to fight, and I really don't think they want to fight with us." Trump emphasized that Iran should not be allowed to have nuclear weapons.
The United States sees a real threat from Iran. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said part of the new contingent would be a battalion dedicated to running a patriotic missile defense system, as well as pioneers to improve the protection of troops in the region. In addition, a squadron of deterrent warships and aircraft would be sent to the region for surveillance.
Even Shanahan spoke of a "defense measure". The day before, he stressed that it was not about war, "our task is deterrent". Trump had said on Thursday that despite the crisis against Iran, he saw no need to send more soldiers to the Middle East.
The situation in Iran has escalated for several months
Earlier this month, Trump's security advisor John Bolton had already announced he would send an air carrier carrier and a bomb squad to the Middle East. A few days later, the Pentagon announced that another battleship and missile defense system would be deployed to the Middle East to respond to Iran threats.
The crisis between Washington and Tehran has escalated for several months. A year ago, Trump had unilaterally dropped out of the nuclear agreement with Iran that Europeans want to keep. The recall of Trump from the international agreement restored US economic sanctions and put Iran under massive pressure.
Between 60,000 and 80,000 US troops are currently stationed in the Middle East and the Middle East.