The U.S. will send one-thousand additional troops to the Middle East amid escalating tensions with Iran.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced the plan on Monday, as a response to what he called "hostile behaviour by Iranian forces and their proxy groups in the region."
He was quick to add, however, that the U.S. does not seek conflict with Iran.
The extra troops had been requested by U.S. Central Command to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the Middle East.
The deployment decision also comes after Washington last week blamed Tehran for an attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, with the Pentagon releasing images to back the accusation.
While Iran has denied responsibility, Shanahan said on Monday that the attacks "validate" intelligence that Iranian forces threaten U.S. personnel and interests across the region.
Washington has already sped up the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group, and long-range nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to the area, citing "credible" threats.
In late May, the Pentagon decided to send an additional 1,500 troops to safeguard U.S. forces and deter Iran from any potential aggression.
As relations continue to sour, Tehran announced Monday it intends to breach a crucial cap on enriched uranium stocks, which was set by the 2015 nuclear deal, that U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from more than a year ago.
Iranian authorities said the country has quadrupled the rate of enrichment, and that within ten days the stockpile would exceed the 300 kilogram limit.
Washington has condemned the move as "nuclear blackmail," saying that must be met with increased international pressure.
However, as the standoff continues, other countries appear concerned of a potential confrontation.
China's foreign minister on Tuesday urged the U.S. to (quote) alter its extreme pressure methods,.. while calling on Iran to tread cautiously on decisions.
Oh Soo-young, Arirang News.