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Trump calls MbS about Iran, but avoids mentioning Khashoggi murder

Trump and Prince Mohammed spoke by telephone [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 June, 2019

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Heightened tensions with Iran were discussed between President Trump and Prince Mohammed.

US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on Friday spoke about new "threats" posed by Tehran, hours after Washington apparently pulled out at the last minute of airstrikes on Iran.

"The two leaders discussed Saudi Arabia's critical role in ensuring stability in the Middle East and in the global oil market. They also discussed the threat posed by the Iranian regime's escalatory behaviour," a White House statement said.

Saudi Arabia's state news agency also confirmed the conversation between the president and crown prince, which comes after a spate of attacks on shipping in Gulf waters, blamed on Iran.

"During the call, latest regional developments and necessary measurements that would confront hostile Iranian activities were discussed, along with working together to guarantee the security, safety and protection of maritime outlets," Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

"Endeavours exerted to maintain oil supplies were also reviewed as well as bilateral relations between the two friendly countries and peoples."

Trump's call came moments after tweeting he was in "no hurry" to attack Iran - a rival of Saudi Arabia - after a US drone was shot down by Iran on Thursday.

The president said he had ordered a retaliatory strike on Iranian targets after the downing, but on Friday said he called the bombing mission off moments before the attack was due to take place.

Six oil tankers in the Gulf have been attacked over the past month, incidents which have been blamed on Iran or its proxies.

The call comes at a controversial time for Saudi Arabia. On Wednesday, the UN said it had "credible evidence" linking the crown prince to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, at the kingdom's consulate in Turkey last year.

"No conclusion is made as to guilt. The only conclusion made is that there is credible evidence meriting further investigation," the report said of Crown Prince Mohammed and Saud al-Qahtani, a Royal Court insider.

"Khashoggi was himself fully aware of the powers held by the crown prince, and fearful of him," it added.

Agencies contributed to this article.

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