Secretary of Defense Mark Esper remarked that “since the [14 September] Saudi Aramco attacks that were sponsored by Iran occurred, we flew – we flowed additional forces into the region… [It] seems like we've seen a downtick with regard to Iranian actions, and that's a good thing, too”. He further underlined that “we are postured to defend ourselves, to help defend our allies and partners, and to defend the international rules-based order in the region, and the Iranians should not mistake our restraint for weakness. We are prepared to act as need be, and will act to defend those things”. “The reason why we haven't increased presence in the region”, Esper added, “is not just to do that, but to signal to them that the path forward is through diplomacy, not military action, and the door remains open to sit down with them anytime, anywhere to discuss the way forward diplomatically”.
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