Addis Ababa, December 5, 2019 (FBC) – The Pentagon has denied a report that the United States was weighing sending up to 14,000 more troops to the Middle East in the face of a perceived threat from Iran.
The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday reported the possible deployment would include “dozens” more ships and double the number of troops added to the US force in the region since the beginning of this year, citing unnamed US officials.
The newspaper said US President Donald Trump could make a decision on the troop boost as early as this month.
But the Pentagon disputed the accuracy of the report.
“To be clear, the reporting is wrong. The US is not considering sending 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East,” spokeswoman Alyssa Farah tweeted.
The region has seen a series of attacks on shipping vessels and a drone and missile attack on Saudi oil installations in September blamed on Iran.
Washington has already ratcheted up its military presence in the Gulf and expanded economic sanctions on Tehran, elevating tensions across the region.
In mid-November the US aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln sailed through the Strait of Hormuz in a show of force aimed at reassuring allies worried about the Iran threat.
In October defence chief Mark Esper announced that two fighter squadrons and additional missile defence batteries were being sent to Saudi Arabia, for a total of about 3,000 new troops.
A senior Pentagon official said on Wednesday there were indications Iran could potentially carry out aggressive actions in the future, amid simmering tensions between Tehran and Washington.