US Acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan said in a statement that the Pentagon has authorized the deployment of an additional 1,000 troops for defensive purposes “to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the Middle East “.
According to Shanahan, “the recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region”.
Shanahan also stressed in the statement that Washington “does not seek conflict with Iran”, adding that the “action is being taken to ensure the safety and welfare of our military personnel working throughout the region and to protect our national interests”.
On Thursday, two oil tankers – the Kokuka Courageous and the Front Altair – were reportedly attacked in the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz. While the causes of the incidents remain unknown, the United States has accused Iran of allegedly sabotaging the vessels.
In the wake of the attack, US President Donald Trump ordered the warship USS Mason to be dispatched to the area, adding to the United States’ already significant military presence in the region.