The White House is pushing for American intelligence and the military to come up with new clandestine options to counter Iranian aggression in the Persian Gulf, The New York Times reports. Iran has maintained that it was not responsible for attacks on two fuel tankers in the Gulf of Oman this month. The explosions follow attacks on four tankers last month that led Trump to send thousands of additional U.S. troops to the Middle East. The White House reportedly wants to deter Iran, without escalating into a traditional war, according to officials. President Trump has said he still believes a direct strike on Iran would be escalatory. The new plans could include more cyberattacks against Iranian intelligence groups, as well as clandestine operations aimed at disabling Iranian boats, and operations to create more unrest inside Iran. According to American officials briefed on the effort, the plans are reportedly in line with previous tactics used by the United States against Iran—which mirror the very shadow war the U.S. accuses Tehran of carrying out.
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