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Saudi Envoy Said To 'Welcome' Iran Deal, Despite Private Misgivings

The White House said that a top Saudi envoy "welcomed" the recent nuclear deal with Iran in a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama July 17.

Despite skepticism expressed earlier by Saudi leaders after the agreement between Iran and five world powers was announced, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told the president he "welcomed" the plan, the White House said.

The Saudi embassy said Jubeir "reaffirmed Saudi Arabia's support for an agreement that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear capability."

The meeting, requested by King Salman, comes after Saudi diplomats privately expressed grave misgivings that the nuclear agreement may legitimize their arch-foe Iran.

Riyadh's public endorsement -- even if tepid and tempered by private misgivings -- is a coup for the White House, which is campaigning for Congress to back the deal.

Former ambassador to the United States Bandar bin Sultan described the accord as worse than an ill-fated agreement with North Korea in an article published in Middle Eastern outlets.

He warned Tehran would "wreak havoc in the Middle East, which is already living a disastrous environment," using billions of dollars Iran would get from the lifting of economic sanctions.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa