DUBAI    -     Saudi Arabia’s deputy defence minister said on Thursday he discussed regional security and military cooperation with senior US government officials at a time of heightened tension with Iran following last month’s attacks on Saudi oil facilities. Saudi Arabia and the United States blamed common foe Tehran for the Sept. 14 assault on oil plants that initially halved the output of the world’s top exporter, a charge Iran denies. The kingdom’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last month said Riyadh prefers a political solution to a military one, but warned that oil prices could spike to “unimaginably high numbers” if the world does not deter Iran. Vice Minister of Defence Prince Khalid bin Salman, a brother of Prince Mohammed, said in Twitter posts that he met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Saudi Arabia and the United States “stand side by side in bolstering regional and international security and stability”, Prince Khalid said of his talks with Pompeo. He and Esper discussed mutual security challenges and reaffirmed “strong military cooperation in countering terrorism and preserving peace and stability”, the prince said.  =Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and its regional rival Shi’ite Muslim Iran are locked in several proxy wars in the Middle East including in Yemen and Syria. The Twitter posts made no mention of them discussing Turkish troops and their Syrian rebel allies launching attacks on Kurdish militia in northeast Syria on Wednesday.