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Saudi Arabia seeks united front against Iran after Gulf attacks

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By Natalie Huet  with Reuters
Saudi Arabia seeks united front against Iran after Gulf attacks

Saudi Arabia convened Arab, Gulf and Islamic leaders in Mecca on Thursday (May 30) with one goal in mind: presenting a united front against Iran.

The emergency meetings in Mecca come just as the United States plans to beef up its troops in the Gulf after attacks on oil assets there, which it blames on Tehran.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have said they want to avoid war after drone strikes on oil pumping stations in the kingdom and the sabotage of tankers off the UAE.

Tehran has denied any involvement in either of the attacks and said it would defend itself against any military or economic aggression.

Tensions have been rife since the United States pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, re-imposed sanctions on Tehran and boosted its military presence in the Gulf.

This week's Mecca summits are steeped in symbolism as they aim to present a united front against Iran in Islam's holiest city, NBC News Foreign correspondent Matt Bradley reports from Jeddah.

Among those attending is the Qatari prime minister – a notable guest, given that Saudi Arabia, along with other Gulf states, led a blockade against Qatar two years ago, accusing Doha of trying to undermine Saudi Arabia and fund terrorism across the Middle East.

“This goes to show that as things keep up on the front with Iran, they actually might be simmering down in other places,” Matt Bradley told Euronews Now.