Code: 821621 A

The United States announced the deployment of additional American military forces to Saudi Arabia on Friday to bolster the kingdom’s defenses after the Sept. 14 attack on its oil facilities, which Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Iran, ILNA reports citing Reuters.

The large deployment, which was first reported by Reuters, includes fighter squadrons, an air expeditionary wing and air defense personnel, the Pentagon said. Together with the 200 forces to Saudi Arabia announced last month, the deployment totaled about 3,000 troops, it said.

U.S.-Iran tensions have risen to new highs since May 2018, when the Trump administration withdrew from a 2015 international nuclear accord with Tehran that put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of sanctions.

As Trump reinstated U.S. sanctions, increasing pressure on the Iranian economy, there have been a series of attacks that Washington and close allies have blamed on Iran, including the attack on the world’s biggest crude oil-processing facility. Iran denies responsibility.

In a bid to better shield Saudi Arabia, the Pentagon said it was sending two additional Patriot batteries and one Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters the deployments were designed to deter Iran.

It was unclear whether some of the newly announced troops might replace other American forces expected to depart the region in the coming weeks or months.

The Pentagon has yet to announce, for example, whether it will replace the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and its strike group when it eventually wraps up its deployment to the Middle East.

Esper declined to say whether the carrier, which itself includes thousands of troops and massive firepower, would be replaced.

Iran has responded to previous U.S. troop deployments this year with apprehension. It denies responsibility for the attack on Saudi Arabia as well as attacks on oil tankers earlier this year.

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saudi arabia oil facilities American military forces
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