US commander discussed Iranian threats with Saudi counterpart

US commander discussed Iranian threats with Saudi counterpart
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U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said its commander, Vice Admiral Jim Malloy, visited Riyadh to discuss Iran with his Saudi counterpart, Vice Admiral Fahad bin Abdullah Al-Ghofaily, over the weekend.

The U.S. has blamed Iran for a Sept. 14 drone attack on two Saudi oil facilities, with Tehran denying responsibility. Iran-backed Houthi rebels based in Yemen have taken credit for the bombing, which initially knocked out about 5 percent of the global oil supply.

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Saudi Arabia is one of several U.S. allies to take the U.S. up on a call to form a naval coalition to protect oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz from what the U.S. calls Iranian aggression.

In a statement, the command said Malloy and Ghofaily discussed the Royal Saudi Naval Forces’s (RSNF) part in defending against “Iranian aggression” in the region.

“Engaging and operating closely with regional counterparts is essential to maintain deterrence,” Malloy said in a statement.

“Saudi Arabia has been a key ally in promoting regional security, and Vice Admiral Gofaily’s leadership and partnership is key as we coordinate defense of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well as all regional partners and those nations across the globe who rely on maritime commerce in and out of the Middle East,” Malloy added.

“This visit was an opportunity to discuss our mutual efforts going forward to coordinate defense against provocation and attack.”

Iran and Saudi Arabia’s rivalry has also played out in the ongoing Yemen conflict, where the Saudis have led a bombing campaign against the Iran-backed rebels.