Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan announced Monday that President Donald Trump's administration will send a thousand troops to the Middle East amid increased tensions with Iran.
Shanahan said that the increased forces were in response to a request from U.S. Central Command for defensive purposes to address air, naval and ground-based threats in the Middle East. U.S authorities accused Iran of attacks on two tankers last week, though the country's foreign minister has denied the accusations.
"The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region," Shanahan said. "The U.S. does not seek conflict with Iran."
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
The decision comes hours after the State Department said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo planned to meet with U.S. military commanders overseeing American forces to provide more proof that Iran was behind the tanker attacks.
U.S. Central Command said the two vessels were hit Thursday by a limpet mine, which is attached to boats below the waterline using magnets.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif angrily dismissed the claims and said they were without "a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence."