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US not sending 14,000 troops to the Middle East to confront Iran: Pantagon

The Wall Street Journal broke the news earlier in the day, citing unnamed officials, that Donald Trump administration was sending dozens of ships to the Middle East, adding that the decision was allegedly expected to come by the end of this month.

Pentagon Press Secretary Alyssa Farah in a statement disputed reports that the US military was considering sending 14,000 troops to the Middle East to counter Iran, Sputnik reported.

“This reporting by the Wall Street Journal is wrong. The US is not sending 14,000 troops to the Middle East to confront Iran,” Farah said on Wednesday in a Twitter post linked to the article.

Farah also told Senator Josh Hawley in a Twitter post the same message after the lawmaker said he looked forward to hearing why the Pentagon was sending more troops and if the US military was preparing for a land war.

The Wall Street Journal said earlier on Wednesday, citing sources that the additional deployment would double personnel sent to the region since the US military buildup began in May – exactly a year after the unilateral withdrawal of the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA), also known as Iran nuclear deal.

Since May, Iran has been scaling down its commitments in retaliation for Washington’s 2018 withdrawal from the deal and the failure of three European signatories – the UK, France, and Germany – to protect bilateral trade against American sanctions.

In the first three stages of its measured response, Iran enriched uranium beyond the 300kg limit set by the deal and ramped up enrichment to levels beyond the 3.67-percent cap. It also expanded nuclear research to areas banned in the agreement.

The fourth step was the injection of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas into centrifuges at the Fordo underground enrichment facility.

Tehran says its reciprocal measures do not violate the JCPOA and are based on Articles 26 and 36 of the agreement itself, which detail mechanisms to deal with non-compliance.

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