The Pentagon has refuted reports that the Trump administration is mulling whether to beef up US forces in the Middle East with up to 14,000 troops, which would have doubled the number of soldiers deployed in the region since May.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the White House was studying the option of sending the 14,000 troops in addition to scores of warships and other hardware to the Middle East under the pretext of countering an “Iranian threat.”

Citing US officials, the WSJ report said Trump was expected to make up his mind on the matter by the end of this month, and that he still could settle for a smaller number of troops. The move could have potentially inflamed tensions between Washington and Tehran, who saw a massive US build-up at its own doorstep with 14,000 US troops having been deployed to the region between May and October.

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