The US will immediately send about 750 troops to the Middle East, following an attack by pro-Iranian protesters on the US embassy in Baghdad, the Pentagon announced on Tuesday.
"This deployment is an appropriate and precautionary action taken in response to increased threat levels against US personnel and facilities, such as we witnessed in Baghdad today," US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a statement.
"The United States will protect our people and interests anywhere they are found around the world," Esper added.
The troops are expected to deploy in the next few days. Esper said in a tweet that the troops were being deployed at the direct command of US President Donald Trump.
The 750 soldiers who are being deployed immediately will join 14,000 US military personnel currently stationed in the Gulf region. Esper also added that the full 82nd Airborne quick-deployment brigade could deploy, about 4,000 soldiers in all.
Iran must pay a 'BIG PRICE!'
Many saw the attack on the US embassy compound as a demonstration that Iran can still target US interests. President Trump has initiated an economic pressure campaign on Iran.
Trump tweeted earlier on Tuesday that "They will pay a very BIG PRICE!" referring to Iran. He also thanked Iraqi officials for their help in dealing with the attack.
Trump later told reporters he "does not foresee war with Iran."
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the attack was "orchestrated by terrorists."
Supporters of the Iranian militia, which was targeted by US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on Sunday, attempted to enter the US-controlled compound, chanting "Death to America!" and setting fire to one of the gates of the compound.