Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz approved hosting US forces in the Kingdom to boost regional security and stability, the state news agency (SPA) reported on Friday.
The US Defense Department confirmed the move in a statement, saying it would deploy troops and resources to Saudi Arabia to “provide an additional deterrent” in the face of “emergent, credible threats.”
An official in the Saudi Ministry of Defense said the decision aims “to increase joint cooperation in defense of regional security and stability and to preserve its peace,” according to SPA.
The gesture comes amid rising tensions between Washington and Tehran in the Gulf.
On Friday, Iran said it had seized a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, but denied Washington’s assertion that the US Navy had downed an Iranian drone nearby earlier this week.
Relations between Washington and Tehran worsened last year when President Donald Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Iran.
Under the pact, Iran agreed to restrict nuclear work, long seen by the West as a cover for developing nuclear weapons, in return for lifting sanctions. But sanctions have since been re-imposed, badly hurting Iran’s economy.
Trump has said he considers Saudi Arabia an important partner in the Middle East and counterweight to the influence of Iran.