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Saudi Crown Prince Bin Salman Departs For Major U.S. Tour

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known by the acronym MBS, was slated to depart on his first official trip to the United States since being designated heir to the throne. Bin Salman will meet President Donald Trump at the White House on Tuesday and also is expected to travel to New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston, where he is scheduled to hold discussions with top global executives, including the heads of Apple and Google, in a bid to promote investment opportunities in the Mideast kingdom. The tour comes a week after a MBS visited Britain and forged numerous economic agreements worth nearly $100 billion dollars. Ahead of his U.S. trip, the “60 Minutes” news program aired a rare interview of bin Salman in which he outlined his efforts to reform Saudi Arabia, primarily by modernizing the economy; promoting a more moderate form of Islam; and loosening restrictions on women. Notably, the crown prince also vowed to obtain atomic weapons if arch-foe Iran is permitted to go nuclear; this, amid reports that Washington is considering allowing Riyadh to enrich uranium as part of a deal that would see American companies build nuclear reactors in the kingdom. The House of Saud plans to construct up to 18 such facilities over the next two decades at a cost of more than $80 billion and reportedly is demanding the right to enrich uranium as a precondition to awarding any related contracts.