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US Says Sending Military Reinforcements to Gulf

US Says Sending Military Reinforcements to Gulf

Saturday, 21 September, 2019 - 07:45
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. (AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced late on Friday that Washington was sending military reinforcements to the Gulf region in wake of the attacks that targeted Saudi Aramco oil facilities last week.

He remarked that the attack was a "dramatic escalation of Iranian aggression," stressing that the Tehran regime was launching a campaign to destabilize the region and provide weapons to the Houthi militias in Yemen.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford categorized the deployment as "moderate," with the number of troops not expected to reach the thousands.

The move came hours after US President Donald Trump ordered new sanctions on Tehran.

Trump said the sanctions were the toughest-ever against another country, but indicated he did not plan a military strike, calling restraint a sign of strength.

The Treasury Department renewed action against Iran's central bank after US officials said Tehran carried out weekend attacks on Saudi Arabia.

The sanctions were imposed for the additional reason of "terrorism," the Treasury said, adding that Iran's central bank had provided "billions of dollars" to two groups blacklisted by the United States.

"Treasury's action targets a crucial funding mechanism that the Iranian regime uses to support its terrorist network, including the Quds Force, Hezbollah and other militants that spread terror and destabilize the region," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The United States also imposed sanctions on Iran's sovereign wealth fund, whose board of trustees includes President Hassan Rouhani, as well as Etemad Tejarate Pars, a company that the Treasury Department said had sent money internationally on behalf of Iran's defense ministry.

Last year Trump pulled out of a nuclear accord with Iran negotiated under former president Barack Obama, sending tensions soaring as he tried to stop all countries from buying Iran's oil.

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