US to send 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East

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A handout picture provided by the Saudi Ministry of Defence on June 16, 2019 shows Saudi F-15 Eagles flying in formation with their US Air Force counterparts and a USAF KC-135E Stratotanker jet (top) in the US CENTCOM area of responsibility, on June 2. (AFP)
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A U.S. military image released by the Pentagon in Washington on June 17, shows what the Pentagon says are members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy photographed from a U.S. Navy MH-60R helicopter after removing an unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous, a Japanese owned commercial motor tanker, after it was attacked with another mine which did explode on June 13, 2019. (Reuters)
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Updated 18 June 2019
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US to send 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East

  • Fears of a confrontation between Iran and US have mounted since last Thursda
  • Troops being deployed for “defensive purposes” amid concerns about threat from Iran

DUBAI/WASHINGTON: Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced on Monday the deployment of about 1,000 more troops to the Middle East for what he said were “defensive purposes,” citing concerns about a threat from Iran.
“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 in a statement.
Reuters first reported plans to send US additional troops to the Middle East earlier on Monday.
Fears of a confrontation between Iran and the US have mounted since last Thursday when two oil tankers were attacked, more than a year after President Donald Trump announced Washington was withdrawing from a 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran said on Monday it would soon breach limits on how much enriched uranium it can stockpile under the deal, which a White House National Security Council spokesman said amounted to “nuclear blackmail.”


Stena Impero operator says tanker’s crew safe and well

Updated 20 min 35 sec ago
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Stena Impero operator says tanker’s crew safe and well

  • ‘... they’re all okay and in good health and they’re getting good cooperation with the Iranians on board the vessel’

STOCKHOLM: All 23 crew on a British-flagged tanker seized last week by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz are safe and well, the vessel’s Swedish operator Stena Bulk said on Wednesday after speaking to them.

Iran said on Saturday it had seized the Stena Impero because it had collided with a fishing boat. Stena Bulk has said it has received no evidence of such a collision.

“We had direct contact with the crew on board the vessel last night by telephone and they’re all okay and in good health and they’re getting good cooperation with the Iranians on board,” the firm’s spokesman Pat Adamson said.

Its CEO Erik Hanell said he hoped Tuesday’s contact was “a first sign that we will soon see more positive progress from the Iranian authorities.”

Britain described the seizure as piracy and called on Monday for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait, a strategic waterway for oil transportation.

Adamson said the next step for the operator would be to try and get somebody on board to check up on the crew, but that he had no timeline for when the crew might be repatriated.

“We haven’t had any direct response from the Iranian authorities about visiting the vessel as yet but we hope we will have that soon,” he said.

“All the appropriate governments and embassies are supporting and helping us.”