Kerry visits Riyadh to sooth fears of stronger Iran under nuke deal

March 3, 2015 11:18

MONTREUX, Switzerland/RIYADH - US Secretary of State John Kerry flies to Riyadh this week to reassure King Salman that any nuclear deal with Iran is in Saudi Arabia's interest, despite the country's fears it may boost its rival's support for Shi'ite Muslim interests in the region.

Convincing Saudi Arabia to accept any agreed nuclear deal is important to President Barack Obama because he needs Riyadh to work closely with Washington on a host of regional policies and to maintain its role as a moderating influence in oil markets.

The main critics of the US push for a nuclear deal are Israel and congressional Republicans. But Saudi Arabia is skeptical too that any agreement would only let Iran devote more cash and energy to Shi'ite proxies in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen, escalating conflicts.

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