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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.
Images - Dhows - Vessels - US - Analysts
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.
The vessels could be easily disguised among the many dhows that transit the Persian Gulf in routine commerce unlike the easily spotted speedboats that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has long used to intimidate crews of oil vessels from other nations and occasionally to harass American ships in the Persian Gulf.
Dhows - Threat - Streams - Iran - US
The two dhows were among the "threat streams" from Iran that the U.S. detected in the two weeks since General Kenneth McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, alerted Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, one of the officials said. The Iranian military also has been seen moving around the country more than usual.
Another official said that the potential Iranian threats also include moving land-based missiles into position to fire on U.S. troops in Iraq, with drones spotting targets or attacking as well.
Others - Evidence - Significance - Photos - Dhows
But others familiar with the evidence are more skeptical, saying the significance of the photos of dhows with missiles and convoys of militias is unclear, according to a person familiar with the intelligence.
The Pentagon has hastened the deployment of an aircraft carrier and sent a Patriot anti-missile battery to the region while the State...
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