Saudis locked in hegemonic struggle with Iran in region
[ Page 31 ]
Saudi Arabia has worked to restore diplomatic ties with Tehran that were ruptured by the Iranian revolution and the Iran-Iraq war, but Tehran's possession of nuclear weapons is likely to cause discomfort in the kingdom. While the restoration of normal diplomatic relations appears on the surface to ease tensions, neither the Saudis nor the Iranians have abandoned their traditional aspirations to be the most influential nation-state in the Gulf. The Saudis are likely to view Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons as a substantial Iranian effort toward politically and militarily dominating the Gulf. The Saudis probably would suffer a sense of political humiliation that the Iranians have the political prestige or reputation for power that accompanies nuclear weapons.