US plans call for up to 120,000 troops if conflict begins with Iran

The Pentagon has drafted plans to send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East in the event Iran launches an attack on U.S. forces in the region or restarts its nuclear weapons program, the New York Times reported.

The updated military plan, which was presented by Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan at a meeting of President Donald Trump’s top aides last week, comes as tensions between Washington and Tehran have risen following what officials citing classified intelligence said were signs of possible threats to U.S. forces or interests in the region. It is not clear whether Trump himself has been briefed.

The size of the force — 120,000 troops is roughly the number the U.S. used to invade Iraq in 2003 — has shocked some officials inside the Trump administration, the Times reported on Monday, citing unnamed national security officials.

On Monday, Trump also issued a warning to Iran when asked by reporters about the prospects of regime change. “We’ll see what happens with Iran,” Trump said at the White House. “If they do anything, it would be a very bad mistake.”

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Author: Dian Welle