(May 23, 2019 / JNS) The Pentagon is expected to propose to the White House a plan to send between 5,000 and 10,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East amid the increasing Iranian threat, adding to the estimated 22,000 American forces in several countries.
Officials told the A.P. no final decisions have been made. It is unknown if the White House will approve any of the plans.
The reports come amid Washington increasing pressure on Tehran as the former has been enacting new sanctions and deploying two warships with fighter jets, in addition to a Patriot missile battery, to the Gulf in response to Pentagon reports that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was planning an attack on U.S. forces or interests in the region—moves that have caused European foreign ministers to call for de-escalation.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”
However, Trump has expressed that he does not want war with the regime.
“I don’t want to fight. But you do have situations like Iran, you can’t let them have nuclear weapons—you just can’t let that happen,” he said in an interview with Fox News that aired Sunday night.
Iran has quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium, according to media reports on Monday.
The New York Times reported last week that the Trump administration has reviewed a military option that includes sending up to 120,000 troops to the Mideast if Iran were to attack U.S. forces or increase its work on nuclear weapons. Trump denied the report.
According to a Pentagon spokesperson, the breakdown of existing U.S. forces in the Middle East includes 14,000 in Afghanistan, 5,200 in Iraq and 2,000 in Syria.