U.S. President Barack Obama met with Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Tuesday to pay respects to the late King Abdullah and bolster a relationship that now stretches well beyond oil interests to security cooperation across the volatile Gulf Arab region.
King Salman, in his first official talks with a high-level foreign delegation since the death of his half-brother on Friday, did not express reservations over U.S.-led negotiations aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear program, a U.S. official said.
It was unclear whether King Salman's comments on the nuclear talks offered a hint of change. Saudi Arabia, the Middle East's top Sunni power, has been anxious over the possibility that the talks would lead to a rapprochement between the United States and the kingdom's main rival, Shi'ite-led Iran.
The king said Tehran should not be allowed to build a nuclear weapon, the U.S. official told reporters on Air Force One following a meeting between the leaders and dinner at Erga Palace in central Riyadh. A nuclear deal with Iran would be a major legacy achievement for Obama.
Obama cut short a trip to India to fly to Riyadh, cancelling plans to visit the Taj Mahal.
He was joined on the four-hour visit by Secretary of State John Kerry and a bipartisan group of prominent current and former officials who presence helped to convey the importance of a relationship that has endured on-off strains in recent years.