Saudi king approves hosting U.S. troops to enhance regional security: SPA

A screengrab of video of the first lunar landing beamed toward Earth and shown on television worldwide

"King Salman gave his approval to host American forces", Saudi state agency SPA quoted the defence ministry as saying.

King Salman has approved hosting USA forces in order to "increase joint cooperation in defense of regional security and stability and to preserve its peace", Saudi state media reported on Friday.

The United States has authorised the deployment of military personnel and resources to Saudi Arabia, the Pentagon says, to provide "an additional deterrent" in the face of "emergent, credible threats" in the region.

According to the CNN report, the site for the deployment of the USA troops - the Prince Sultan Air Base - was chosen because it is located in a remote area that would take longer for Iranian missiles to reach.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has approved the hosting of USA troops for the first time since the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003, as the two allies bolster cooperation amid rising tensions with Iran.

The US military also said it had patrol aircraft monitoring the Strait of Hormuz, and was developing a "multinational maritime effort" to ensure freedom of navigation in key Middle East waterways.

Putting U.S. combat forces back in Saudi Arabia, after an absence of more than a decade, adds depth to the regional alignment of U.S. military power, which is mostly in locations on the Persian Gulf that are more vulnerable to Iranian missile attack. Until the U.S. military withdrew from the kingdom in 2003, U.S. aircraft were stationed at the Prince Sultan air base, around 80km south of the capital, Riyadh.

The tensions between Iran and the USA have increased since the White House announced in May 2018 that it would abandon the so-called Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the multilateral nuclear agreement with Tehran is formally known.

Iran's semi-official news agency, Fars, reported that Mesdar was briefly detained in the strait of Hormuz and given a notice to comply with environmental regulations before being allowed to continue on its way.

Relations between Washington and Tehran worsened past year when US President Donald Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Iran.

Troops are preparing the base for the arrival of aircraft and additional soldiers later in the summer, one USA official said.

Washington on July 19 said it had shot down an Iranian drone that was menacing a USA warship in the Strait of Hormuz, while Tehran denied that it had lost such a craft.

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