Washington, Sep 21: In response to drone attacks on Saudi Arab oil facilities, the US on Friday night announced that it would send additional troops to the west Asian country for prevent any such further attacks.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters at the Pentagon that the troops would be "defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defense". Yemen-based Houthi rebels have claimed the responsibility of the attacks last week, forcing the Saudi to cut its oil production which lead to increase in oil prices. US claim that Iran was behind the attacks, has led to escalation to tensions of the American nation with Iran.
"Right now we're focused on helping the Saudis improve their defense infrastructure," Esper said as quoted by CNN. The administration's goal is to send a "clear message" that the US supports its partners in the region, will defend the free flow of commerce through the Persian Gulf and demonstrate its commitment to the rules-based international order.
However, the Defence Secretary said US does not seek a conflict with Iran. "As the President has made clear, the United States does not seek conflict with Iran," Esper said, and added, “we have many other military options available should they be necessary.”
The Pentagon announcement came hours after President Donald Trump announced that he had applied new sanctions on the Iranian economy. The sanctions have targeted Iran's central bank and its sovereign wealth fund. Mr Trump said it would be easier for him to launch airstrikes. However, the President said he is not considering a direct military response at the moment.
Since it left the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018, the Trump administration has been ramping up economic penalties as part of its "maximum pressure" campaign to bring Tehran to the negotiating table. UNI