Three officials told the New York Times that intelligence photographs showing missiles being loaded by Iranian Revolutionary guards are behind escalating tensions between the US and Iran.
Other intelligence also indicated plots by Iranian backed militias to attack US troops and diplomats in Iraq, the New York Times said.
The intelligence is reportedly behind US decisions to enhance its military presence in the region, and prompted the evacuation of the US embassy in Baghdad Wednesday.
US, European and Iraqi officials though say Iran may be acting defensively in reaction to a series of provocations by the US.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Pictures showing Iranian paramilitary forces loading missiles onto boats are behind a recent sharp escalation in tensions between the US and Iran, The New York Times reported Thursday.
The May 3 overhead images show fully assembled missiles being loaded onto boats in the Persian Gulf, three officials told the Times, raising concerns that they could be used by Iranian Revolutionary Guards to target US Navy vessels.
Other intelligence reportedly indicated threats to commercial shipping vessels, and to US troops in Iraq from Tehran-backed militias.
Read more: The US sent an aircraft carrier to ‘send a message’ to Iran — but it’s at a major disadvantage
The intelligence was taken by hawkish National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to indicate that Iran may be preparing to attack US forces.
But others, including senior members of the Trump administration, senior European and Iraqi officials, and members of Congress reportedly believe that Iran’s move to arm the ships may be a defensive response to provocations from Washington DC, rather than a show of aggression.
The intelligence prompted the White House to send Bolton to announce on May 6 that US aircraft carrier strike groups and fleet …read more
Source:: Business Insider