Teheran, 9 July 2011. A member of Iran’s parliament, the Majlis, said in a interview with the news agency IRNA today that the closeness of the Saudi Arabian regime to Israel is a trap set by the West to undermine their status in the region.
Heshmatollah Falahat-Pisheh, member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission in the Iranian parliament, accused the West of looking for a new ally in the region after Egypt’s Mubarak was ousted last February. He did not further explain where exactly he sees the closeness between Israel and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
Another topic the Iranian MP strongly criticized is the planned purchase of 200 German Leopard 2A7+, the newest version of the popular Main Battle Tank. The Iran accuses the KSA-government to buy the tanks to crush internal unrest while the KSA maintains, it needs the upgrade in its armour to deal with external threats. It is safe to assume that Saudi Arabia sees Iran as the main threat.
The Saudis have more than 1,300 Main Battle Tanks, but more than half of it (about 780) are the outdated models M60A1/A3 (USA) and AMX-30 (France). Both models are only armed with 105mm-cannons and their armour does not protect against modern anti-tank weapons. The latest generation Leopard 2A7+ built by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann would be a significant boost in the strength of the Royal Saudi Army.
Iran and the KSA are the main regional powers in the Persian Gulf region with its strategic oil and gas reserves. Last month a Saudi prince has said during a speech in the UK that, if the Iran will acquire nuclear weapons, the KSA will do the same. The Saudi government also went on a massive arms shopping spree in the US, the deal is allegedly worth a total of more than 1.3 billion Dollar. (see our article ‘Saudi Arabia will seek Nuclear Weapons if Iran gets them‘, 30 June 2011).