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Crown prince title cements Saudi reformer's power

Elevation of anti-Iran hard-liner has neighbors concerned

Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's new crown prince, on a visit to Japan in 2016.

TEHRAN, Iran -- Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, son of King Salman, has replaced his cousin Mohammed bin Nayef as crown prince following a surprise promotion, adding to his already sizable authority on foreign relations and economic matters.

The 31-year-old prince keeps his defense minister title and gains that of deputy prime minister. State media report 31 of the 34 members of the Allegiance Council responsible for royal appointments approved his promotion. Mohammed bin Nayef has been relieved of all posts, including deputy prime minister and interior minister.

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