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  • The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln transits the Strait of Gibraltar, April 13, 2019.

    The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln transits the Strait of Gibraltar, April 13, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 14 May 2019

Washington's design would seem to be a deterrent measure, which remains framed by Trump's escalation rhetorics.

The United States acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has presented a military plan to the National Security Advisor John Bolton and other Washington officials that calls for sending up to 120,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East, according to a just-released New York Times report.

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"The size of the force involved has shocked some who have been briefed on [the plan]," the NYT stated, adding "120,000 troops would approach the size of the U.S. force that invaded Iraq in 2003."

The Shanahan plan does not ​​​​​expect a direct invasion to Iran, however. So far, Washington's design seems to be a deterrent measure framed by President Donald Trump's rhetorical threats of escalation. 

“We’ll see what happens with Iran. If they do anything, it will be a very bad mistake,” said the U.S. head of state Monday and added that “if they do anything they will suffer greatly.”

The acting secretary's plan came to light just days after Bolton announced his government will send a fleet of military ships led by the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf.

It was one year ago that the Trump administration withdrew the U.S. from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) multilateral nuclear agreement and reinstated sanctions against Iran that began in the late 1970s aimed at preventing the Persian nation's oil exports.

Due to these retaliations, the European Union (EU) set up an "Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges" (INSTEX), an international ​​​​​​​payment system aimed at allowing European companies to continue trading with Iran.​​​​​​​

U.S. presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders tweeted referring to the report, "We must stop Trump and his national security advisor, John Bolton — someone who likes endless wars."

Last month, Trump also ended U.S. exemptions to eight nations enabling them, including China and India, to continue buying Iranian crude. The move was made to try to force Tehran into a broader arms control agreement.

In response to the new White House agressions, Iranian authorities say they may block the Hormuz strait, an internationally strategic oil transport route and last week Tehran said it will end some of its nuclear deal commitments.

​​​Anticipating an increase of tensions, the EU Foreign Policy High Representative Federica Mogherini asked U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo Monday for "maximum containment and to avoid any (military) escalation" with Iran​​​​​​​.

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