News the Trump administration is considering a plan to send 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran stage acts against the United States or its interests is “extremely alarming,” considering the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has not been briefed on Iran, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said Tuesday.
“I think that after maximizing the pressure on Iran, Iran is feeling the consequences of the economic pressures and they are doing certain things, particularly the [Islamic] Revolutionary Guard, that in preparing for potential actions has caused alarm,” Sen. Menendez, the ranking member on the committee, told CNN’s “New Day.”
But the challenge is the committee has asked for a classified briefing but has not heard from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or the intelligence community, nor Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, to understand the “exact deep nature of the threat” from Iran or any specifics.
“I don’t know the depth of it, and obviously the elements I know I can’t speak to, but the reality is what we need is a diplomatic surge,” Menendez said. “If Iran is reeling from all of the consequences of the sanctions that the Trump administration has reimposed, the purpose of sanctions is not a means to an end, it’s a means to get Iran back to the negotiating table.”
He added he does not think President Donald Trump understands or knows what information exists to justify preparing to send 120,000 troops to the Middle East.
“His whole view in the Middle East has been to extract our forces that are still there, not to add forces, so you have to wonder who is driving that type of policy view,” Menendez said.
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