At a meeting of US President Donald Trumps top national security aides last week, Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, administration officials said.
The revisions were ordered by hard-liners led by John Bolton, Trump's National Security Adviser. They however, did not call for a land invasion of Iran, which would require vastly more troops.
It is also unclear whether the President has been briefed on the number of troops or other details in the plans.
On Monday, when asked about if he was seeking regime change in Iran, Trump said: "We'll see what happens with Iran. If they do anything, it would be a very bad mistake."
"It's going to be a bad problem for Iran if something happens," he added.
According to The New York Times, deploying such a robust air, land and naval force would give Tehran more targets to strike, and potentially more reason to do so, risking entangling the US in a drawn out conflict.
Saudi Arabian officials are investigating the apparent sabotage, and American officials suspect that Iran was involved.
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