BAGHDAD, Iraq — The top commander of US forces in the Mideast said Iran appears to have decided to “step back and recalculate” in response to a US military buildup in the Persian Gulf area.
Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie said it’s too early to conclude Iran has abandoned plans for potential attacks against American interests that prompted the buildup last month.
McKenzie told reporters Thursday that he is assessing Iran’s stance. He said he would not rule out requesting more forces to bolster American defenses.
McKenzie said Iran and its proxies posed what he called an “advanced and imminent” threat to US forces when he asked on May 5 for authority to accelerate the deployment of an aircraft carrier and send four strategic bombers to the Gulf area.
Iran is locked in a tense standoff with the US after Washington withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal last year and reimposed sanctions.
The US has accused Tehran of being behind a string of incidents last month, including the alleged sabotage of oil tankers off the Emirati coast, a rocket strike near the US embassy in Baghdad and a coordinated drone attack on Saudi Arabia by Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthi rebels.