The US special representative to Iran has told Sky News that if Tehran does attack then America will retaliate.
But Brian Hook insisted they are in a “reactive mode,” not an offensive one.
He said: “Everything the United States has done has been defensive. And our foreign policy continues to be consistently diplomatic…It would be negligent if we didn’t posture ourselves defensively.
“Think about what would have happened if we saw all of this threat reporting and we didn’t do anything in response. It would be an act of gross diplomatic negligence and we would be putting the lives of Americans in the region at risk.”
Mr Hook said they had received credible threats from Iran that forced them to act.
“We have multiple threat intelligence reporting that Iran was planning kinetic attacks against American interests and it was over many days.
“Very credible and sustained intelligence reporting detecting plots to attack American interests in the region.
“And so we very quickly re-positioned military assets to defend ourselves and we think that was the right decision.
“We think it has helped to disrupt or deter Iran from doing what it wanted to do.”
The Pentagon is considering whether to send extra troops to the Gulf to beef up defences against potential Iranian threats.
There have been reports that it could include up to 10,000 troops. I asked Mr Hook what the thinking was behind a possible move.
He replied: “It’s purely defensive. If we end up doing that we don’t have any announcements.
“But we always look at our force posture in light of threats that we’re receiving and starting on May 3rd we started really receiving a variety of threat streams that suggested that Iran was planning imminent attacks against American interests in the middle in the region.
“And so we changed our force posture to be one in a defensive position so that if we’re attacked first we can defend ourselves.
“But it’s also meant to deter Iran from considering the very attacks that we saw in the intelligence. And so far I think we for the time being we have deterred the kind of attacks that we had feared.”
Officials told the AP news agency that the discussions include additional Patriot missile batteries, more ships and increased efforts to monitor Iran and are aimed at reinforcing security in the region.
No final decision has been made and it is not clear if the White House would approve sending all or just some of the requested forces.
The escalating tensions with Iran has surprised some. On the campaign trail in 2016, Donald Trump said he did not want to get involved in the mess of foreign wars.
Brian Hook insists that’s still the case, but added: “He will take action when necessary to protect American interests as he did in Syria when in order to restore the red line that was lost under the prior administration against chemical attacks, the president ordered strikes in Syria.
“He’s done it twice now when he thinks it’s appropriate.”
Source: SKY NEWS