The story comes from The Telegraph.
US reassures Gulf states amid Iran nuclear deal fears
Chuck Hagel, the US Defence Secretary, today sought to reassure Gulf states concerned about the recent nuclear deal with Iran by providing an unprecedented breakdown of America’s military presence in the region.
Several leading pro-Western Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, have expressed displeasure about the recent interim agreement reached with Iran in Geneva over its nuclear programme, fearing that it could result in the U.S. abandoning its long-established ties with Gulf states in return for better relations with Tehran.
But speaking at the annual Manama Dialogue international security conference in Bahrain, Mr Hagel went out of his way to stress the formidable amount of American firepower that still remains based in the Gulf region.
Previously, American defence secretaries have been wary about specifying the precise strength of America’s military strength in the region for fear of further inflaming tensions among radical Islamist groups.
But with key American allies seeking assurance of a protective US presence in the wake of the Iran deal, Mr Hagel told the conference, which is organised by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, that the Pentagon had no plans to reduce America’s military presence in the region, and was also planning to strengthen the region’s defensive missile shield to protect the Gulf states from attack by Iran.
The Pentagon “will not make any adjustments to its forces in the region — or to its military planning — as a result of the interim agreement with Iran,” said Mr Hagel. There are currently more than 35,000 troops in the Gulf region, including more than 10,000 forward-deployed soldiers with tanks, artillery and attack helicopters to serve as a “bulwark against aggression,” he said.
Meanwhile 40 U.S. warships have sailed through the Strait of Hormuz — the key waterway at the mouth of the Gulf which Iran threatened to mine in late 2011 — a total of about 50 times in the last six months.