The Pentagon will deploy an additional 1,800 U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia, senior defense officials said Friday, a modest increase in the U.S. military’s presence in the Middle East meant to deter Iranian aggression.

Calling Saudi Arabia a “long-standing security partner, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said he had spoken with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman earlier Friday about the kingdom’s defensive capabilities and U.S. efforts to protect partners in the region.

The deployments include two…

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