The United States may consider sending thousands more American troops to the Middle East as tensions rise with Iran, ONA reports citing CNN.
Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan has affirmed that the Pentagon was considering sending more US troops to the Middle East as one of the ways to strengthen protection for American forces there amid tensions with Iran.
"What we're looking at is: are there things that we can do to enhance force protection in the Middle East? It may involve sending additional troops", Shanahan told reporters outside the Pentagon.
However, the defence secretary brushed off reports that specific numbers of troops were still being considered at this point.
The United States has in recent weeks bolstered its forces in the Middle East in what US National Security Adviser John Bolton has described as "a clear message" to Iran. The United States has reinforced its presence in the region with an aircraft carrier strike group, Patriot missiles, B-52 bombers, and F-15 fighters, according to the Pentagon.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that Iran does not intend to wage war with the United States, but will continue to resist Washington.
US-Iran tensions flared up last year when the United States unilaterally withdrew from the international nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic. On 8 May, Iran announced its own decision to partially discontinue some of its obligations under the nuclear agreement.