The fraught history of Saudi-Iran relations since 1979

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been tense since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, though there have been occasional thaws between the two rivals.

See Full Article

The tensions have now sharply escalated with Saudi Arabia severing ties with the Islamic Republic following attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran. Here's a look at how relations between the two Mideast powers have shifted over the last decades:

PRE-REVOLUTION RELATIONS: Under the rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Iran had rocky relations with Saudi Arabia, though they improved toward the end of his reign. Both were original members of the oil cartel OPEC.

POST-REVOLUTION: After the overthrow of the shah and takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Saudi Arabia quickly became America's top ally in the region. In the ensuing 1980s war between Iran and Iraq, Saudi Arabia backed Iraq despite its concerns about dictator Saddam Hussein. That war would kill 1 million people.

1987 HAJJ RIOTS: The annual pilgrimage to Islamic holy sites in Saudi Arabia, required of all able-bodied Muslims once in their life, saw bloodshed when Iranians held a political demonstration. Iranian pilgrims later battled Saudi riot police, violence that killed at least 402 people. Iran claimed 600 of its pilgrims were killed and said police fired machine guns at the crowd. In Tehran, mobs attacked the Saudi, Kuwaiti, French and Iraqi embassies, ransacking the first two.

SEVERING TIES: In 1988, Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran, citing the 1987 hajj rioting and Iran's attacks on shipping in the Persian Gulf. Iranians responded by boycotting the hajj in 1988 and 1989. The two countries restored diplomatic ties in 1991.

EASING TENSIONS: Relations between the two nations improved after Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, a political moderate, took office in 1997. Ties warmed further after historic visits by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah to Tehran in December 1997 and Khatami to the kingdom in May 1999.

NUCLEAR DISPUTE: Worries about Iran resumed in Saudi Arabia amid international sanctions against Tehran over its contested nuclear program and the increasingly harsh rhetoric of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iran and Saudi Arabia each backed opposite sides in Syria's civil war, as well as in the civil war in Yemen. Saudi Arabia also grows increasingly suspicious of Iran as it reaches a deal with world powers over its nuclear program.

2015 HAJJ DISASTER: On Sept. 24, a stampede and crush strikes the annual hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. While the kingdom says 769 pilgrims are killed, an Associated Press count shows over 2,400 people were killed. Iran says at least 464 of its pilgrims were killed and blames Saudi Arabia's "incompetence" for the deaths.

SHEIKH'S EXECUTION: On Jan. 2, Saudi Arabia executed Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others - the largest execution carried out by the kingdom in three and a half decades. The execution of al-Nimr, a central figure in Arab Spring-inspired protests by Saudi Arabia's Shiite minority, sparked protests across the Mideast and attacks on Saudi diplomatic facilities in Iran. Saudi Arabia responded by announcing it was severing diplomatic ties with Iran over the attacks.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Venomous snakes stolen in Niagara break-in, police say

    Canada News CBC News
    Police in the Niagara Region are hunting for a number of venomous snakes. Niagara Region police say the reptiles were stolen on Saturday evening when a home was broken into in Thorold. The stolen snakes include several juvenile cobra species, rattlesnakes, adders and vipers, and a pregnant albino boa. Source
  • Kim Jong Nam death investigation is impartial, Malaysian diplomat says

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING - The investigation into the death of the exiled half-brother of North Korea's ruler is being conducted in an impartial manner, Malaysia's ambassador to Pyongyang said Tuesday, rejecting accusations from the North that the probe was politically tinged. Source
  • Venomous snakes stolen from Ontario home

    Canada News CTV News
    THOROLD, Ont. - Police in the Niagara Region of southern Ontario are hunting for a number of venomous snakes. Niagara Region police say the reptiles were stolen on Saturday evening when a home was broken into in Thorold. Source
  • 5 believed dead after plane hits Australian mall [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    MELBOURNE, Australia — Five people were believed killed when a light plane crashed in flames into a shopping mall on Tuesday in the Australian city of Melbourne, officials said. The five were on a twin-engine Beechcraft Super King Air that crashed about 45 minutes before the Direct Factory Outlet mall in suburban Essendon was to open, Police Minister Lisa Neville said. Source
  • 'My life is ruined': Parents of man killed in B.C. kidnapping open up for first time

    Canada News CBC News
    It was September 29, 2015 when Cang Sun got a phone call from his son's kidnapper. Sun was in the process of wire-transferring another instalment of the ransom for his son, Peng Sun, toward the $2.5 million demanded by the kidnapper, when his phone rang. Source
  • Food banks growing own goods as donations decline

    Canada News CTV News
    Food banks are looking to alternative solutions to help augment declining fresh produce donations. “We have no farms in Mississauga, so unlike my counterparts in other areas of Ontario, who have more fresh than they can handle, we don’t get enough fresh here,” explained Mississauga Food Bank’s Executive Director Chris Hatch to CTV News Channel. Source
  • Loblaw resets passwords after security breach of its loyalty program

    Canada News CBC News
    Loblaw has reset passwords for all its PC Plus rewards collectors' online accounts after points were stolen from some members' accounts. The company posted a warning on its website saying it requires all members to create new passwords — regardless of whether or not they changed them following the recent security breach. Source
  • Poll finds 6 in 10 on board with Canada's refugee targets

    Canada News CTV News
    A new poll has found that nearly six in 10 Canadians believe the Trudeau government has “made the right call” with its 2017 refugee targets, while about one in four believe Canada should have followed U.S. Source
  • Judge allows 2nd girl's statements in 'Slender Man' case

    World News CTV News
    Anissa Weier, 15, appears in court in Waukesha, Wis. on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. (Michael Sears / Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) Source
  • Bell Canada forced seriously ill woman to go to store: Tribunal

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal says Bell Canada discriminated against a seriously ill woman by forcing her to violate her doctor’s orders and go to a store in person in order to acquire a cellphone. Source