The German Foreign Minister's weekend trip to the Arabian Peninsular has reinforced relations between Germany and the local dictatorships. According to the German delegation, talks in Riyadh were particularly successful and in depth. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle subsequently declared that Saudi Arabia is the "leading regional power" playing "a key role for the region as a whole." This declaration is significant because it recognizes Saudi Arabia's Persian Gulf claim to leadership and therefore confronts Iran's growing influence. Teheran seeks more influence. Around 2005, an Iranian strategy paper was published proclaiming that "in twenty years Iran will be a developed country, an economic, academic and technological regional forerunner." Riyadh is opposing these efforts with Berlin's help. For decades the ruling Saudi clan has been willing to subordinate its interests to those of the West, whereas Teheran stands in opposition to the West.
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