The head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Frank McKenzie told reporters on Thursday that while Iran has decided to “step back and recalculate” whether to attack American assets in the Gulf, “I don’t actually believe the threat has diminished. I believe the threat is very real.”
His remarks came amid the Washington increasing pressure on Tehran that has included enacting new sanctions and deploying two warships with fighter jets, in addition to a Patriot missile battery, to the Gulf in response to Pentagon reports that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was planning an attack on U.S. forces or interests in the region.
Late last month, the United States sent 900 new troops to Saudi Arabia and Qatar amid the Iranian threat.
These U.S. responses, said McKenzie, have “caused the Iranians to back up a little bit, but I’m not sure they are strategically backing down.”
“We’ve taken steps to show the Iranians that we mean business in our ability to defend ourselves,” he said.
For example, the general said that surveillance aircraft has been repositioned to give the Iranian threat a “new look.”
“I hesitate to say that deterrence has been established,” said McKenzie. “We continue to see possible imminent threats” of a possible Iranian attack.