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Obama meets Saudi foreign minister at White House

01-11-2012 08:44 BJT

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal in the Oval Office, White House said in a statement.

"The President and Prince Saud affirmed the strong partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia and discussed recent developments on key regional issues of mutual interest," said the statement.

It added that Obama asked Prince Saud to convey his best wishes to King Abdullah bin Abd Al-Aziz Al Saud who has undergone back surgeries.

The visit by the Saudi foreign minister is apparently related to the recent heightening tensions between the United States and Iran.

On Dec. 31 last year, Obama signed a bill with provisions asking for new sanctions on Iran, targeting foreign financial institutions that do business with the Islamic republic' s central bank, the main conduit for its oil revenues.

According to the bill, foreign financial institutions doing business with Iran's central bank are banned from opening or maintaining correspondent operations in the U.S.

The move, aimed at choking off Iran economically, prompted furious reactions from Iran. Recently, Iran has been holding a series of military exercises and threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world's most critical oil route, if Western countries impose sanctions on Iran's oil exports.

On Sunday, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that Washington would "not tolerate" the blocking of the Strait of Hormuz, saying that is a "red line" for the United States and "we will respond to them."

In the latest development, Iran had sentenced the "CIA spy" Amir Hekmati, who has a dual Iranian-American citizenship, to death. Washington on Monday strongly condemned Iran for the death verdict, sharply criticizing the Islamic republic for having a history of falsely accusing people for political reasons.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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