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Saudi Arabia’s deposed crown prince ‘house arrested’

King Salman issued a series of royal decrees last Wednesday, the foremost being the appointment of his son, Mohammed bin Salman, as the kingdom’s new crown prince and deputy prime minister.The new restrictions on the man who until last week was next in line to the throne and ran the kingdom’s powerful internal security services sought to limit any potential opposition for the new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, 31, the officials told the newspaper on the condition of anonymity.A senior Saudi official described a New York Times report that Mohammed bin Nayef had been confined to his palace in Jeddah and prevented from leaving the country as “untrue, completely false and baseless”. He went on to suggest the Times report was based on “unfounded rumors” started by Iran.Mohammed bin Nayef, who was admired in Washington for quashing an al Qaeda insurgency in the kingdom between 2003 and 2006, was relieved of all his duties a week ago.”Nothing has changed for Prince Mohammed, except of stepping down from his government positions”.”Mohammed bin Nayef has been such a great friend and partner of the U.S., we would not want to see him treated inelegantly or indecorously”, the American official said.It said restrictions had also been imposed on Mohammed bin Nayef’s daughters, before adding it was unclear how long they would remain in place.The report comes just a week after a dramatic reshuffling of Saudi Arabia’s line of succession.Although Mohammed bin Salman’s promotion to crown prince had always been expected among those who follow the royal family closely, the timing was a surprise, and puts the kingdom’s future in relatively untested hands.The UK Guardian collected a smattering of other categorical denials from Saudi officials, plus one source who said it is true that Nayef has been asked to stay at his palace for a little while during the changeover period, but he’s not under house arrest.Saudi Arabian deposed crown prince has been confined to his palace and barred from travelling overseas, according to reports in the United States that have been denied by Saudi officials.The Times reported a “Saudi citizen close to the royal family” as saying the new restrictions had been imposed nearly immediately after bin Salman’s promotion.The official told Reuters that Mohammed bin Nayef, a veteran interior minister, was continuing to host guests and there were no restrictions at all on his or his family’s movements.