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Macron and Bin Salman discuss Gulf security amid Iran protests

The leaders of France and Saudi Arabia close ranks in their approach to regional security
Macron Bin Salman

AFP/BERTRAND GUAY  -   France's President Emmanuel Macron greets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman upon his arrival at the Elysee Palace in Paris, July 28, 2022

French President Emmanuel Macron and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed security in the Persian Gulf amid tensions in the oil-rich region in the face of popular protests in Iran, official Saudi media reported on Sunday. 

Macron and Bin Salman held a telephone conversation in which they "discussed international and regional problems and developments and efforts to strengthen security and stability" in the Gulf, the official Saudi news agency SPA reported. 

It added that the Saudi prince, who also serves as prime minister, "appreciated what President Macron expressed about France's support for security and stability in the region, and its rejection of threats that undermine stability in the area". 

The agency provided no further details about the conversation, which comes amid Tehran's implicit accusations against Saudi Arabia of fomenting the two-month-old popular protests in Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, calling for the end of the Islamic Republic. 

Iranian Revolutionary Guard chief Hosein Salami warned Riyadh earlier this month of "paying the price" if what he called Saudi "interference" in Iran's affairs continues. 

In that context, Saudi and US intelligence services have uncovered alleged plans by Tehran to attack Saudi Arabia in order to divert attention from the protests, according to the Wall Street Journal.  

Saudi Arabia and Iran lead the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam, respectively, and the two countries have not had diplomatic relations since 2016.