Pentagon: Threat of Iranian Attacks Diminished by US Military Build-up
Acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan says the Pentagon’s military build-up in the Persian Gulf has forced Iran to “put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans.” President Donald Trump recently ordered the deployment of an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers and additional Patriot anti-missile defense batteries to the region, and reportedly received a green light from Saudi Arabia to station troops on the kingdom’s soil. Shanahan qualified, however, that the US moves did not ensure that “the threats we’ve previously identified have gone away. Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate,” he said. The comments follow weeks of tensions in the Middle East that have manifested themselves in two attacks, allegedly by Iranian proxies, against Saudi oil and shipping assets, and the firing of a Katyusha rocket at Baghdad’s Green Zone, where the US Embassy is located. They also came against the backdrop of an Israeli television report claiming the US intercepted communications in which Iran ordered its Lebanon-based Hizbullah terror proxy to target American interests. Amid the beating of war drums, Tehran has quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium in response to US economic sanctions, which have decimated the Islamic Republic’s oil exports.