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Photos Taken May 3 Added Fuel to Iran Fears

'NYT': Photos show missiles on boats in Persian Gulf
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2019 8:53 AM CDT

(Newser) – Non-essential Embassy staff members in Iraq have been told to leave, and there's been a report that the Pentagon could send 120,000 troops to the Middle East if tensions with Iran reach a breaking point. Now, a possible clue as to why the hubbub over Iran has suddenly heated up: some photos. Three US officials who talked to the New York Times say the images, shot from above the Persian Gulf, show ready-to-go missiles on small boats. The May 3 imagery, combined with other intel, has apparently spooked the likes of John Bolton and Mike Pompeo. It's believed the missile-equipped boats are under the purview of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Iran's elite military force that was recently added to the US list of "foreign terrorist organizations."

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CNN reported last week that Iran appeared to be moving missiles aboard boats, but the Times notes that other intel has added to that concern and is signaling a "troubling Iranian mobilization of forces," in US officials' eyes. Axios offers a timeline detailing the escalating tensions since May 5. Some, however—including high-up Trump officials, Iraqis, Europeans, and both GOP and Dem members of Congress—are concerned that recent US actions are an overreaction and that Iran may just be taking precautions against a perceived threat from the US. One person who's apparently in the hesitant camp: President Trump, who is said to be angry and frustrated with Bolton and Pompeo's restlessness on the matter. "They are getting way out ahead of themselves, and Trump is annoyed," a senior administration official tells the Washington Post. (Read more Iran stories.)

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