US Preparing to Deploy 120,000 Troops in Middle East to Counter Iran
PLAN outlined Several options to tackle Tehran in the region
President Donald Trump has been given a plan to deploy up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East to counter the threat from Iran, according to a report from the New York Times.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan disclosed the military plan at a meeting with Trump's top security aides on Thursday.
In the briefing plan, it outlined Several options to tackle Tehran in the region, while "the uppermost option called for deploying 120,000 troops, which would take weeks or months to complete," the Times reported.
The development reflects the influence of Mr. Bolton, one of the administration’s most virulent Iran hawks."
(UPDATE) Since publication Trump has denied the NYTimes report calling it 'fake news.'
“I think it’s fake news, OK?” Trump said of the Times report published late Monday.
“Now would I do that? Absolutely. But I have not planned for that. If we did that, we’d send a hell of a lot more troops than that.”
Bolton has advocated military force against Tehran, even penning an op-ed in 2015 titled “Top Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.”
Earlier this year, Trump called the US intelligence agencies as “naive” and “wrong” following their annual ‘threat assessment’ which contradicted his stance by downplaying Tehran’s nuclear threat.
The President also dismissed the agency's assessments of the threat posed by North Korea which contradicted his judgments during congressional testimony.
The Pentagon has also deployed the USS ‘Abraham Lincoln’ carrier strike group and bomber task force to counter the unspecified threat.
The deployment comes a year after Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) and renewed its sanctions.
The US also branded Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps a “terrorist organization,” which triggered a tit-for-tat response from Tehran.
In January, the head of the Iranian air force issued a warning that Iran was preparing to "confront" Israel and "eliminate it from Earth" following recent Israeli air strikes in Syria.
The air strikes, which Israel's military said were meant for alleged Iranian targets in Syria, left four Syrian soldiers dead.
In response, the commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF), Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh, issued the provocative declaration to the Young Journalist Club news agency, according to Iranian media.
“The young people in the air force are fully ready and impatient to confront the Zionist regime and eliminate it from the Earth,” Nasirzadeh warned.
“Our future generations are learning required know-how for the promised day to destroy Israel,” he added.