The Times said the plan, which does not call for a land invasion of Iran, was ordered in part by national security adviser John Bolton.
The meeting included Bolton, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, according to the Times.
The paper said the number of the troops discussed “has shocked some who have been briefed on them” and noted that the figure is close to the number of US troops that invaded Iraq in 2003.
A number of senior administration officials told the paper that even in its early stages, the plan shows “how dangerous the threat from Iran has become,” while other officials “who are urging a diplomatic resolution to the current tensions, said it amounts to a scare tactic to warn Iran against new aggressions.”
A senior administration official confirmed to CNN that potential military plans to send additional US troops to the region were reviewed last week during a meeting at the White House with the national security team, but did not say what the number of troops in that force would be.
Another senior administration official told reporters last week that if Iran does not remain in the 2015 nuclear deal, the White House would consider taking additional action beyond sanctions.
When asked by a reporter if the Pentagon would strike Iran’s nuclear facilities if they go above 20% purity enrichment 60 days from now, the official said, “The President has been very clear that when the security of the American people are threatened, all options are on the table.”
They added that Trump is “certainly not going to constrain his options if the Iranians take an action he thought was unacceptable.”
Asked about the report Tuesday on “New Day,” Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Majid Takht Ravanchi, said such talk amounted to “psychological warfare” by the US.
“We are not in the business of trying to create conflict in our neighborhood, because nobody is going to have benefit from such a conflict in our region except for a few — as I explained earlier — some people in Washington and some countries in our neighborhood,” Ravanchi told CNN’s John Berman.
The concerns over the movement of the missiles was one of multiple threads of intelligence from various sources that led the US to believe Iran had a capability and intention to launch strikes against US targets.
CNN’s Barbara Starr, Kylie Atwood, James Griffiths, Joshua Berlinger and Sheena McKenzie contributed to this report.