What Saudi King wants from Obama meeting

Washington — The first White House visit by a Middle Eastern leader since President Obama secured enough congressional support for the Iran nuclear deal will not be about looking backward, but about US reassurances and commitments going forward.

While Iran is indeed likely to dominate the conversation Friday between Mr. Obama and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, the nuclear deal won’t be the crux of it, regional experts say.

The Saudi king will still be wanting to thwart a nuclear-armed Iran, which under the deal should be at least a decade away. But even more important, his aim will be to keep Iran’s regional ambitions and meddling in check.

The Saudis will also want to know that Obama does not see the Iran deal as the US ticket out of the Middle East, some say. At the same time, they don’t want to see relations between the United States and Iran get any too friendly.

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