WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on the United States and Iran (all times local):
Some U.S. allies are expressing skepticism about the Trump administration’s claims that Iran poses a growing threat in the Persian Gulf and beyond.
U.S. Central Command has responded by saying Ghika’s remarks “run counter to the identified credible threats” from Iranian-backed forces in the Mideast.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump denied a report that the administration has updated plans to send more than 100,000 troops to counter Iran if necessary. But Trump then stirred the controversy further by saying: “Would I do that? Absolutely.”
The U.S. military says American troops in Iraq and Syria are now on a higher level of alert due to “credible and possibly imminent” threats from Iran, rebutting an earlier statement from a British officer.
Navy Capt. Bill Urban, spokesman for U.S. Central Command, has issued a statement saying Ghika’s comments ran counter to “identified credible threats” to the troops from Iranian-backed forces in the region. The statement cites intelligence gathered by the U.S. and its allies but provides no additional details about the potential threats.
The U.S.-led military coalition combating the Islamic State group has detected no increased threat lately to its troops in Iraq or Syria from Iranian-backed forces, a senior coalition officer said Tuesday.
“No, there’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria,” British Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika told reporters at the Pentagon in a video-conference from coalition headquarters in Baghdad. “We’re aware of their presence, clearly, and we monitor them, along with a whole range of others because that’s the environment we’re in.
His comment follows assertions by Trump administration officials that they have detected signs that Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies were preparing for possible attacks against American interests in the Mideast.
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