The United States has taken “additional measures to communicate directly with Iran” that it does not seek to escalate conflict in the Middle East amid the Israel-Hamas war, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said.
“In light of heightened tensions stemming from the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, we have undertaken additional measures to communicate directly with Iran, Iran-aligned groups in Iraq, Lebanon, and our regional partners...We aim to clarify that our military actions do not signal a change in our approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict, and we have no intentions of escalating conflict in the region," the Pentagon official said.
It comes after the Pentagon announced an airstrike on a weapons storage facility in Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Corps Guard in response to near-daily attacks by Iranian-backed groups on U.S. forces in the region.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has put additional Patriot batteries at its bases in the Middle East as a result of the attacks by Iranian backed groups in Iraq and Syria, according to a senior defense official.
The Pentagon previously announced the deployment of an unknown number of Patriot batteries from the US to the Middle East, but has not disclosed where specifically they were sent.