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February 18, 2021 9:52 am

Biden Officials ‘Recalibrating’ Ties With Saudis, Opening ‘Path to Diplomacy’ for Iran

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Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – Officials in the Biden administration announced a shift in US Middle East foreign policy on Tuesday towards a more critical stance on Saudi Arabia while opening the door for direct diplomacy with Iran.

In a briefing with reporters at the White House, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that US President Joe Biden would conduct diplomacy directly through Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz rather than his powerful son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“We’ve made clear from the beginning that we are going to recalibrate our relationship with Saudi Arabia,” said Psaki.

The move is a reversal of US relations under the Trump administration, which had maintained steady contact with Mohammed bin Salman, also known as “MBS.” In particular, former White House senior adviser Jared Kushner developed close ties with him and with leaders of other Arab Gulf states, which helped to pave the way for normalization between Israel and several Arab countries in the fall.

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