U.S. Central Command chief General Kenneth McKenzie says the United States has the “resources necessary” to deter Iran from taking any “dangerous” actions in the Gulf region.
McKenzie told Sky News Arabia during an official visit to the region on April 27 that Washington would work with allies in the Gulf to present a united front against Tehran.
"We're going to continue to reach out to our partners and friends in the region to ensure that we make common cause against the threat of Iran," McKenzie was quoted by Sky News Arabia as saying, according to a transcript released by the Abu Dhabi-based channel.
"I believe we'll have the resources necessary to deter Iran from taking actions that will be dangerous. We will be able to respond effectively," he added.
Washington has been stepping up the political and economic pressure on Tehran since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017.
Trump in May 2018 announced Washington's withdrawal from the landmark 2015 nuclear pact and reimposed sanctions on Tehran that had been eased as terms of the accord.
Trump asserted that Iran had not lived up to the “spirit” of the pact by continuing to development nuclear weapons and financing extremist violence in the region. Tehran has denied the allegations.
Trump has also demanded nations stop purchasing Iranian oil or face sanctions as he attempts to force Tehran’s crude exports to zero, further hitting the country’s economy and currency.
In early April, the United States designated Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist organization (FTO).
Washington will continue to increase financial pressure and raise the costs on Iran "for its support of terrorist activity," Trump said in a statement on April 8.
In his Gulf comments, McKenzie also spoke on U.S. troop levels in Syria, where they have been supporting a Kurdish-led rebel group in its fight against Islamic State (IS) militants and the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Trump initially said all 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria would immediately be withdrawn, but the president and military officials have backed off those comments.
"On the long term, we're going reduce our forces in Syria,” McKenzie said.
“We recognize that, that's the guidance in which we are operating. That will be something that we will look at very carefully as we go forward," the general said.
McKenzie assumed Central Command leadership from from General Joseph Votel in late March.