U.S. Defense Chief Authorizes Troops Deployment to Saudi Arabia

Trump has said he considers Saudi Arabia an important partner in the Middle East and counterweight to the influence of Iran

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, March 20, 2018.
\ Jonathan Ernst/ REUTERS

U.S. Defense Secretary authorizes deployment of military personnel and resources to Saudi Arabia amid rising tensions between Washington and Tehran in the Gulf.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman approved hosting U.S. forces in the country to boost regional security and stability, the state news agency (SPA) reported on Friday. 

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>> Latest: Iran seizes two British oil tankers in Strait of Hormuz, releases one

On Friday, Iran said it had seized a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, but denied Washington's assertion that the U.S. Navy had downed an Iranian drone nearby earlier this week. 

Relations between Washington and Tehran worsened last year when U.S. 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 reimposed, 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.