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    An F/A-18F Super Hornet from the "Patriots" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140 flies over a U. S. aircraft carrier in Arabian Sea. | Photo: Reuters

Published 23 May 2019 (37 minutes ago)

This comes amid increasing tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan Thursday confirmed that the Pentagon is considering sending additional troops to the Middle East as Washington continues to ratchet up tensions with Iran.

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"What we're looking at is: Are there things that we can do to enhance force protection in the Middle East," Shanahan said. "It may involve sending additional troops."

Earlier Thursday, the Associated Press reported that defense officials were preparing to present the Trump administration with a plan to send 10,000 more troops to the region.

Citing anonymous U.S. officials, the Associated Press reported that the plan also includes more ships and Patriot missile batteries. But the officials insisted that no final decision has been made and that it’s unclear whether the Trump administration will approve it.

Tensions between the two countries have been rising since the U.S. military accelerated the deployment of a carrier strike group to the Middle East earlier this month in response to what Washington called troubling threats from Iran. However, the United States has provided no evidence of the alleged Iranian threats.

At the same time, U.S. President Donald Trump has been ratcheting up his rhetoric. On Sunday, Trump tweeted: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”

Last week, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran does not seek war with the United States.

“There won’t be any war. The Iranian nation has chosen the path of resistance,” Khamenei was cited as saying by the state media. “We don’t seek a war, and they don’t either. They know it’s not in their interests.

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