The United States has announced the deployment of 1,500 soldiers in the Middle East, describing it as an effort to strengthen defenses against Iran, as it has accused the country's Revolutionary Guards of being directly responsible for this month's tanker attacks .
President Donald Trump's administration has also called for the threat from Iran to declare a national security-related emergency that would clean up the sale of billions of dollars in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and others countries without congressional approval required.
The actions were the latest in the Trump administration as they highlight what they consider a threat to Iran's potential attack, and it follows the decisions to accelerate the deployment of an aircraft carrier attack group like this how to send additional patriot bombers and missiles to the Middle East.
The deployments, denounced by Iran as an escalation, arrived in the midst of a freeze in direct communication between the United States and Iran that raised concerns about the growing risk of an involuntary conflict.
Mr. Trump, however, described the latest distributions as defensive, in nature. The 1,500 troops include personnel handling missile defense systems, aerial surveillance to identify threats and engineers to fortify the defenses. Also includes a squadron of fighter jets.
"We want to have protection in the Middle East, we will send a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective," Trump said as he left the White House for a trip to Japan.
The decision on the troops marks a reversal of sorts for Trump, who said only Thursday that he believes that no more forces are needed. Trump tried to untangle the US army from endless conflicts in places like Syria and Afghanistan.
The deployment is relatively small compared to the approximately 70,000 US troops currently stationed in a region that extends from Egypt to Afghanistan. Furthermore, about 600 of the 1,500 "new" troops are already in Patriot missiles for the Middle East, but will see their sides expanded.
However, the Democratic parliamentarian who heads the Chamber's Armed Services Committee, Adam Smith, said the deployment "appears to be a blatant and heavy move to further intensify tensions with Iran".
Eager to avoid the escalation with Iran amid increased tensions, Pentagon officials stressed the defensive nature of the deployment at a press conference and noted that none of the troops would be heading for hot spots like the # 39; Iraq or Syria.
At the same time, the US State Department informed Congress that it will continue with 22 arms deals worth about $ 8 billion, congressional assistants said, wiping out a long-standing precedent for reviewing the Congress of such sales.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said today that the US administration is bypassing Congress to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan to "discourage Iranian aggression".
"These sales will support our allies, improve stability in the Middle East and help these nations dissuade and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran," Pompeo said in a statement.
Some legislators and congressional aides had warned earlier this week that Trump, frustrated by Congress holding arms sales as a big deal to sell precisely guided Raytheon Co ammunition to Saudi Arabia, was taking into consideration the use of the loophole to carry on the sale.
Attacks on oil tankers
Admiral Michael Gilday, the director of the General Staff, on Friday described US intelligence portraying a new Iranian "campaign" that used old tactics and extended from Iraq to Yemen to the waters in the Strait of Hormuz, a fundamental maritime hub for global oil trade.
"We believe with a high degree of confidence that this brings Iran's leadership back to the highest levels and that all the attacks I have mentioned have been attributed to Iran through their delegates or forces," he said. .
Admiral Gilday has accused Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) of being directly responsible for the attacks on UAE tankers at the beginning of this month, in what could be an omen of the conclusion of the ongoing accident investigation.
"The attack against the expedition to Fujairah, we attribute it to the IRGC," said Admiral Gilday, explaining that the Pentagon attributed the anti-tank mines used in the attack directly to the IRGC. .
However, he refused to describe the "means of delivery" of the mines.
A petroleum product tanker based in Norway and a UAE fuel bunker barge was among the four ships struck near the Fujairah emirate, one of the largest bunkering hubs in the world located just off the Straits of Hormuz.
Admiral Gilday also blamed Iran's "proxy" forces for carrying out a missile attack in the green zone of Baghdad last week.
The Pentagon has not provided evidence to support its claims, but said it hopes to further downgrade the intelligence to support them. Iran has completely rejected the accusations and accuses the United States of being at risk with troop deployments.
Trump downplayed the potential for a military conflict in the region, saying he believed Iran did not want a confrontation with the United States – even if Washington tightens sanctions with the goal of pushing Iran to make concessions beyond the terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement.
Trump has retired from the international agreement between Iran and the six major world powers last year.
"Right now, I don't think Iran wants to fight and I certainly don't think they want to fight with us," Trump said.
"But they cannot have nuclear weapons," he continued. "They can't have nuclear weapons and they understand it."