US to bolster military force in Saudi Arabia amid heightened tensions with Iran

US President Donald Trump Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

Donald Trump has approved the deployment of additional US troops and military equipment to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as tensions with Iran become increasingly strained.

However the US president has stopped short of any immediate military strike on Iran following Tehran's suspected involvement in the attack on Saudi oil fields and industry.

US Defence Secretary Mark Esper said the move was the first step in beefing up security in the region, but would not rule out further moves.

The Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir said "the world has a responsibility to ensure the safety and security of this region and to deter Iran from engaging in aggressive behaviour".

  • ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy says the Saudis will be looking to bolster their air defences following the drone attack

Mr Esper said the decision to increase the US military presence in the region comes after a request from the Saudis and the UAE to help improve their air and missile defences.

Mr Esper and Gen Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said details of the deployments will be determined over the coming days.

Mr Trump said he believes showing restraint “shows far more strength” and he wants to avoid an all-out war.

Sanctions against Iran had already been increased in the wake of the attack of key Saudi oil fields.

Iran has denied any involvement in the attack on Saudi oil fields last weekend. Credit: AP

Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard is ready for combat and "any scenario," its chief commander, General Hossein Salami, said on Saturday.

Iran has denied involvement in the September 14 attack that was initially claimed by Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was in New York for UN meetings, has warned that any retaliatory strike on Iran by the U.S. or Saudi Arabia will result in "an all-out war."

Saudi claims it has retrieved evidence proving Iran's involvement in the attack. Credit: AP

Salami, at a ceremony displaying pieces of an American drone Iran shot down in June, said that his forces have carried out "war exercises and are ready for any scenario."

He added: "If anyone crosses our borders, we will hit them."

Salami said that Iran does not want to start a conflict, but appeared to warn the US and Saudi Arabia that Iran is prepared.

"We won't stop until the destruction of any aggressor," he said. "Do not miscalculate and do not make a mistake."

Half of Saudi Arabia's energy production was knocked out in what has been dubbed a sophisticated and targeted attack.