Senators to get new round of closed-door Iran briefings amid growing tensions
© Greg Nash

Key senators will soon be getting a new round of briefings from the Trump administration amid escalating U.S. tensions with Iran.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans give Barr vote of confidence Democrats block two Senate abortion bills VA could lead way for nation on lower drug pricing MORE (R-Ky.) said from the Senate floor Tuesday that committees would be getting a briefing, and that a top State Department official will take part in a closed-door Senate Republican lunch to discuss the situation with GOP senators. 

"I … appreciate the administration's efforts to keep Congress appraised of the latest diplomatic efforts. I understand committee staff received a classified briefing just yesterday. I look forward to hearing from the State Department's top career diplomat at the Republican lunch today," McConnell said.


McConnell added that he expects the administration to also send up an interagency team to brief Senate committees behind closed doors. 

The U.S. face-off with Iran reached a new phase Monday as Tehran’s nuclear agency announced it will soon exceed the amount of low-enriched uranium it is allowed to stockpile unless Europe intervenes.

The escalation follows attacks on oil tankers near the strategic chokepoint of the Straight of Hormuz, which the Trump administration blames on Tehran.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanEsper's chief of staff to depart at end of January Defense chief calls on European allies to be wary of China's investments, blasts Russia Pentagon chief approves 20 more miles of border wall MORE announced on Monday night that the administration will send an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East for defensive purposes. 

"The United States does not seek conflict with Iran," Shanahan said in a statement. "The action today is being taken to ensure the safety and welfare of our military personnel working throughout the region and to protect our national interests."  

Republican senators have largely backed the administration's strategy toward Iran, while Democrats are warning that the lack of a clear strategy could lead the White House to slide into a conflict with Iran.

McConnell on Tuesday said he supports the administration's decision to send additional troops to the region.

"The U.S. does not seek conflict with Iran. I support these prudent efforts to respond to Iranian intimidation, defensive military deployments will help us protect American interests in the region and deter Iranian aggression," he said.