Saudi crown prince, Trump to hold 'critical' talks on Iran nuclear deal

Key Points
  • Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is in Washington to meet with high-profile political and industrial heavyweights.
  • The powerful 32-year-old royal will meet with Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
  • Saudi Arabia is one of America's largest defense industry customers buying $54 billion in foreign military sales.
Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud attends the GCC-Morocco Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on April 20, 2016.
Bandar Algaloud | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Saudi Arabia's ambitious young prince has arrived in Washington.

In his inaugural visit since becoming the heir apparent to the Saudi throne, the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is slated to meet with a number of high-profile political and industrial heavyweights.

On Tuesday, Salman will join President Donald Trump at the White House. The two will discuss infrastructure projects, Russia's role in Syria, the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen and the Iranian nuclear deal, a senior administration official said Monday.

The meeting between Salman and Trump comes as Riyadh and Washington forge improved relations following tensions resulting from the Obama administration's handling of the Iran nuclear deal.

The discussions between the Saudi crown prince and Trump are expected to play a "critical role" in the president's next steps regarding the 2015 nuclear agreement, the senior administration official said.

"One of the things we've heard consistently from the region both from the Saudis, Emirates and the Israelis is that they didn't really have a relevant voice in the process of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and so he wants to make sure that their views are heard and that we understand their security concerns as we move forward," the official added.

President Donald Trump and Mohammed bin Salman meet at the White House in Washington, March 14, 2017.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Following Salman's visit with President Donald Trump, the 32-year-old prince will meet with Defense Secretary James Mattis, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, CIA director Mike Pompeo, and have dinner with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.

The Pentagon had no further details of the scheduled meeting between Mattis and Salman. The two are expected to discuss national security issues within the region as well as various ongoing Department of Defense programs designed to bolster Saudi's security capabilities. In the past nine months, the U.S. has secured $54 billion in foreign military sales to Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi delegation is also slated to meet with defense industry giants Lockheed Martin and Boeing on Wednesday. After his Washington engagements, the prince will embark on a nearly three-week-long trip across the United States.