Nuclear changes, more troops heighten US-Iran tensions

Posted: Updated:

By MATTHEW LEE
AP Diplomatic Writer


WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. and Iran edged toward a flashpoint Monday as Tehran announced it was breaking compliance with the accord that keeps it from making nuclear weapons and the Trump administration followed by ordering 1,000 more troops to the Middle East.

The Pentagon said the deployment includes security forces and troops for additional surveillance and intelligence gathering in the region. While the number is small, it represents an escalation of U.S. military might aimed at deterring Iran and calming allies worried that transit through key shipping lanes could be in jeopardy.

Tehran's announcement earlier Monday means it could soon start to enrich uranium to just a step away from weapons-grade levels, challenging President Donald Trump's assurances to allies that the U.S. withdrawal from the deal last year made the world a safer place.

The developments are bound to inflame tensions in the Middle East and pose a test of resolve and credibility for both adversaries.

Iran said it would break a limit on uranium stockpiles established by the 2015 agreement with world powers that was intended to restrict the Islamic Republic's nuclear program in exchange for an easing of international sanctions.

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