06/18/2019, 09.53
MIDDLE EAST - USA - CHINA
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Washington to send one thousand more troops to Middle East

The United States strengthens the military presence in the region. The US Defense Minister speaks of "credible and reliable information" about Tehran's "hostile behavior". Beijing asks for moderation: you are opening "a Pandora's box". Iran is ready to exceed the limit of uranium reserves.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The United States will send a thousand more troops to boost those already stationed in the Middle East, in the context of a growing tension between Washington and Tehran that is increasingly threatening to lead to an open conflict.  US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan made the announcement that the troops will perform defense tasks.

Last week's attack on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman triggered an escalation in tensions between the United States and Iran, which worries international chancelleries. The standoff between the two nations was triggered by US President Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) ​​agreed by his predecessor, Barack Obama, which was followed by the toughest sanctions in history against Iran. Washington, which has strengthened the military presence in the area, has its eyes on the oil exports of the Islamic Republic.

“The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region,” Shanahan said in a statement.The new allocation provided by the US Defense in the Middle East is added to the increase of 1500 men already announced last month.

The escalation of tension worries China, which this morning launched an appeal to the United States and Iran inviting both sides to moderation. "We are addressing all parties - said Foreign Minister Wang Yi - to keep a cool head [...] and not to open up a Pandora's box". Addressing the leaders of the Islamic Republic, the minister asked the rulers to use caution and not to give up "lightly" to the nuclear agreement.

Just yesterday Tehran announced its intention to exceed - within the next 10 days - the limit of low-enriched uranium reserves, allowed by the JCPOA. The spokesman for the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency, Behrouz Kamalvandi, reported this during a press visit to Arak's heavy water reactor.

"We have quadrupled the enrichment rate - the manager pointed out - and accelerated even more. In 10 days we will exceed the allowed limit of 300 kg [...] but there is still time and if the European nations act ". The date set is June 27 and it is possible that Iran could return to enrich its uranium up to 20% "based on the needs of the country".

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