China and Russia warned yesterday about escalating Middle East tensions after Washington said it would deploy 1,000 more troops to the region and renewed accusations that Iran was behind a tanker attack.
The United States moves came as Iran set a 10-day countdown for world powers to fulfil their commitments under a nuclear deal abandoned by Washington, saying it would otherwise surpass the uranium stockpile limit mandated by the accord.
Tensions between Tehran and Washington have escalated ever since the US quit the deal, with Washington bolstering its military presence in the region and blacklisting Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization.
On Monday, Washington further upped the ante. “I have authorized approximately 1,000 additional troops for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the Middle East,” acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan said in a statement.
“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 United States has blamed Iran for last week’s attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a charge Tehran denies as “baseless.”