Kuwait's Emir Sheik Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, left, meets with Saudi King Salman on the sidelines of an Arab summit meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt, Saturday, March 28, 2015. (AP Photo/MENA, Mohammed Samaha)
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Saudi Arabia, whose late King Abdullah once urged the United States to "cut off the head of the snake" by attacking Iran's atomic program, has publicly welcomed a framework nuclear deal with Tehran, but in private mistrust remains deep.However, many Saudis were concerned about the implications of the framework deal that Iran reached with world powers Thursday, intended to open the way for negotiating a final settlement by midyear.However, it is also worried that a deal that lifts international pressure, including sanctions, on Iran, will allow the Islamic Republic more space to arm and finance proxies that Riyadh opposes in countries across the region.Analysts say it is not so much an eventual nuclear settlement that is panicking the Gulf state and its Sunni allies, but rather they fear a U.S.-Iran rapprochement will further empower Tehran and encourage it to pursue a more assertive policy in the region.Top princes have warned that Riyadh will seek the same terms for its own civilian nuclear plans that Tehran gets in its deal with world powers, and have also hinted that if Iran still manages to acquire a nuclear weapon, they will too.
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