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story.lead_photo.caption This image released by the U.S. Department of Defense on Monday, June 17, 2019, and taken from a U.S. Navy helicopter, shows what the Navy says is blast damage to the motor vessel M/T Kokuka Courageous, consistent with a limpet mine attack. (U.S. Department of Defense via AP)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is sending 1,000 more troops to the Middle East as tensions in the Persian Gulf mounted Tuesday over Iran's announcement it will not comply with the international agreement that keeps it from making nuclear weapons. At the same time, Iran insisted it was not seeking war.

Iran's announcement Monday that it could soon start enriching uranium to just a step away from weapons-grade levels challenged President Donald Trump's assurances to allies that the U.S. withdrawal from the deal last year made the world a safer place.

The Pentagon responded by ordering 1,000 more troops to the Middle East, including security forces for additional surveillance and intelligence-gathering. The escalation of American military might was aimed at deterring Iran and calming allies worried about the safety of strategic shipping lanes .

Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, insisted Tuesday that while "we do not wage war with any nation," Iranians will withstand mounting U.S. pressure and emerge victorious.

After Trump withdrew from the deal signed by President Barack Obama, he reinstated stiff economic sanctions, leaving the European and other partners in the accord struggling to keep Iran on board.

Iran's announcement that it would not abide by a limit on uranium stockpiles established under the 2015 agreement puts the U.S. in the awkward position of demanding that Iran comply with a deal that Trump derides as the worst in history.

"We continue to call on the Iranian regime not to obtain a nuclear weapon, to abide by their commitments to the international community," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said Monday.

The U.S. accuses Iran of attacking two tankers near the Persian Gulf; the Iranians deny responsibility. With details murky and no one owning up to the attacks, the Pentagon released new photos intended to bolster its case.

In announcing the new deployment, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said the forces are "for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats" in the Mideast.

"The United States does not seek conflict with Iran," Shanahan said, describing the move as intended "to ensure the safety and welfare of our military personnel working throughout the region and to protect our national interests."

He said the U.S. will continue to adjust troop levels as needed.

Russia urged restraint by all parties and worries that the additional American forces could "bring in extra tensions," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Some supporters of the multinational nuclear deal blamed the Trump administration for Iran's provocative announcements, saying they were predictable given the renewed U.S. pressure.

"While Iran's frustration with Trump's reckless and irresponsible pressure campaign is understandable, we strongly urge Iran to remain in compliance with the nuclear deal," the Arms Control Association said in a statement. "It remains in Iran's interests to abide by the limits of the agreement."

Iran has shown no willingness to negotiate another deal and has pledged not enter into talks with the United States while the administration keeps up the pressure with sanctions.

Administration officials are struggling with whether to press the remaining parties to the deal, including Britain, France and Germany, to demand that Iran stay in compliance. They must also consider whether such a stance would essentially concede that the restrictions imposed during the Obama administration are better than none.

Under the deal, Iran can keep a stockpile of no more than 660 pounds (300 kilograms) of low-enriched uranium. Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran's atomic agency, said it would pass that limit June 27.

A senior U.S. official said the U.S. is most concerned about any violation of the deal that would reduce the time Iran would need to produce a nuclear weapon. The deal aimed to keep that "breakout time" at one year.

The official said certain violations would not necessarily reduce that time. But other violations, such as enriching uranium to 20%, should be addressed immediately if they occur, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to meet this week with the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, a leading deal proponent.

Pompeo, a leading critic of the deal while he was in Congress, has said Iranian compliance is not really an issue because the administration sees the agreement as fundamentally flawed.


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  • Foghorn
    June 18, 2019 at 11:19 a.m.

    Hmm...this seems very familiar. Oh yeah, Bush and Cheney claiming ‘WMD’s’ were had by Iraq (which turned out to be completely fabricated) so we must invade. How many Americans died needlessly in Iraq as a result? More than 4,400 died and 32,000 gravely wounded. Even Trumptards have to question the logic given those stats.

  • Illinoisroy
    June 18, 2019 at 11:40 a.m.

    Foghorn I would agree with you but there is a famous general who posts on this forum that says it is apples and oranges, no pun intended on old bone spurs complexion.

  • GeneralMac
    June 18, 2019 at 12:42 p.m.

    apples to oranges...FOGHORN

    Must I give you the same history lesson I gave ILLINOISROY ?

    Glad you said " yes", I will accomodate you.

    Iraq invaded KUWAIT and a coalition ( mostly US) drove Iraqi troops OUT of Kuwait.
    Sadam HUSSEIN ( spelled the same as Barack HUSSEIN Obama ) terms.

    #1........UN inspectors allowed free reign in Iraq
    #2.........a no fly zone along the northern part where Kurds were

    Despite Sadam HUSSEIN agreeing, he kept waffling......allowing inspectors, kicking them out,allowing them, kicking them out.

    Shooting at US planes enforcing no fly zone.

    Result......US had enough and Sadam was given ultimatum.

    There never would have been a US invasion, Sadam HUSSEIN could have stayed in power and stayed alive........had he only abided by terms HE agreed to.

    When you get your ass kicked in a war ( Gulf War I) the LOSER agreed to terms and failed to live up to them.

    I will say " you're welcome" in advance of you saying..."Thank you, GeneralMac "

  • abb
    June 18, 2019 at 1:36 p.m.

    Foghorn, there WERE WMDs in Iraq. Most got moved to the Bekka Valley in Lebanon. Remember when Syria used Sarin/GB and mustard in Allepo and other areas of Syria? UN accounted for there stockpiles stored at the Russian Naval base at Tartus. So where did they come from? Why did the 155mm and 122mm rockets have Iraqi markings on them?

    If you don't believe those then go down to NCTR/Pine Bluff Arsenal and talk to MSG Metsinger (spelling). He got burned in Iraq by mustard gas and later gave atropine to two soldiers who were handling a nerve agent. Arkansas soldiers wounded by WMDs...IN IRAQ. They were there, just not in the vast stockpiles that the domestic enemy (the liberal media) misled you by.

  • 0boxerssuddenlinknet
    June 18, 2019 at 2:11 p.m.

    Hopefully with our navy guarding the tankers through the narrow strait will cut down on Iranian mischief to the ships.

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    June 18, 2019 at 4:10 p.m.

    anyway, Syria was our Ally in Desert Storm. Everyone is our ally until their not.
    Dont know what brings that on...
    anyway, lets play my favorite game.
    spot the cia.