Responding to a distress call, sailors assigned to a rescue and assistance team from the U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68), provide aid to the motor vessel SINAA, a 35-meter Iranian-flagged dhow. Anzio supplied the dhow with water, fuel and food to sustain her crew of 24 for their transit home on Nov. 10, 2006. The Pentagon is working with its Defense Intelligence Agency to declassify and release images, including two Iranian dhows carrying land-attack missiles, to back up the Trump administration's claims of a growing threat from Iran, according to four defense officials. (U.S. Navy/Ensign Patrick King)

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is working with its Defense Intelligence Agency to declassify and release images — including two traditional sailing vessels carrying land-attack missiles — to back up the Trump administration's claims of a growing threat from Iran, according to four defense officials.

The evidence may be released within a day, according to one of the officials, because the White House recognizes it needs to disclose more documentation to skeptical allies, U.S. lawmakers and the public.

These include images of the two dhows, slow-moving vessels that U.S. analysts believe were carrying cruise missiles that are designed to attack land targets and would be fired directly from the boats rather than shipped to other locations, according to one of the defense officials.

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U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he hoped the United States was not heading to war with Iran as he met with Switzerland President Ueli Maurer, whose nation has served as a diplomatic conduit between the two countries.

Asked by reporters Washington was going to war with Tehran, Trump responded, "Hope not" as he greeted Maurer at the White House.

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A partial view of the Iraqi capital Baghdad is reflected in the visor of a U.S. Army helicopter crew member as he looks out of a Chinook helicopter flying from the U.S. Embassy to Baghdad International airport on January 9, 2019. (Reuters/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds)

BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Helicopters ferried U.S. staff from the American embassy in Baghdad on Wednesday out of apparent concern about perceived threats from Iran, which U.S. sources believe encouraged Sunday's attacks on four oil tankers in the Gulf.

The sabotage of the tankers, for which no one has claimed responsibility, and Saudi Arabia's announcement on Tuesday that armed drones hit two of its oil pumping stations have raised concerns Washington and Tehran may be inching toward conflict.

A U.S. government source said American security experts believe Iran gave its "blessing" to tanker attacks, which hit two Saudi crude oil tankers, a UAE-flagged fuel bunker barge and a Norwegian-registered oil products tanker off Fujeirah near the Strait of Hormuz.

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President Donald Trump. (DoD photo)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Tuesday denied a New York Times report that U.S. officials were discussing a military plan to send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East to counter any attack or nuclear weapons acceleration by Iran.

"I think it's fake news, OK? Now, would I do that? Absolutely. But we have not planned for that. Hopefully we're not going to have to plan for that. And if we did that, we'd send a hell of a lot more troops than that," Trump told reporters at the White House.

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Flight deck personnel stand on the flight deck on board the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) as it patrols the Arabian Gulf during a Strait of Hormuz transit February 14, 2012. (Reuters/Jumana El Heloueh)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. defense official has presented an updated military plan to President Donald Trump's administration that envisions sending up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, the New York Times reported on Monday.

Citing unnamed administration officials, the Times said Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented the plan at a meeting of Trump's top security aides on Thursday.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the report. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Pentagon declined to comment.

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The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) transits the Strait of Gibraltar, entering the Mediterranean Sea as it continues operations in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility in this April 13, 2019. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Clint Davis)

GENEVA (Reuters) - A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander said on Sunday the U.S. military presence in the Gulf used to be a serious threat but now represents a target, the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) reported.

The U.S. military has sent forces, including an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers, to the Middle East in a move that U.S. officials said was made to counter "clear indications" of threats from Iran to American forces in the region.

The USS Abraham Lincoln is replacing another carrier rotated out of the Gulf last month.

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