Worries flare that U.S. sliding toward Iran war
WASHINGTON — International worries flared into the open Tuesday that the Trump administration is sliding toward war with Tehran amid skepticism about its claims that Iran poses a growing threat to the U.S. and its allies in the Persian Gulf and beyond .
The U.S. military rebutted the doubts about such a threat, and 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 day of turmoil was set in motion when a British general contradicted the administration’s claim of a rising Iranian threat in the region.
“No, there’s been no increased threat from Iranianbacked forces in Iraq and Syria,” said Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika, a senior officer in the U.S.backed coalition fighting the Islamic State group. Ghika, speaking in a video conference from coalition headquarters in Baghdad, told reporters at the Pentagon that the coalition monitors the presence of Iranian-backed forces “along with a whole range of others because that’s the environment we’re in.”
At the White House, Trump, who has repeatedly argued for avoiding long-term conflicts in the Mideast, discounted a New York Times report that the U.S. has updated plans that could send up to 120,000 troops to counter Iran if it attacked American forces.