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Federal officials have told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that Canada's strategic interest would be well served by strengthening economic ties with oil-rich Saudi Arabia because of its powerful position in the Persian Gulf.

That advice sheds light on why the Liberals are rejecting calls to cancel a $15-billion sale of armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia following its execution last weekend of 47 people, including a prominent Shiite cleric.

Trudeau has also been advised to anticipate the easing of possible sanctions against Iran in the coming months if progress is made on implementing last year's landmark nuclear agreement between Tehran and six countries,...

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