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

  • Resistance 150: Why everyone isn't celebrating Canada's birthday

    Canada News CTV News
    As organizers ramp up anticipation for Canada’s big bash honouring the 150th anniversary of Confederation, indigenous activists are rallying their own counter-celebrations. The #Resistance150 movement was created nearly eight months ago by Anishinaabe traditional storyteller and teacher Isaac Murdoch, Michif visual artist Christi Belcourt, Cree activist Tanya Kappo and Métis author Maria Campbell while they were discussing the government’s planned festivities for Canada 150. Source
  • CNN retraction, resignations prompt fresh swipe from Trump

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump used the resignations of three CNN journalists involved in a retracted Russia-related story to resume his attack on the network's credibility Tuesday. The story was about a supposed investigation into a pre-inaugural meeting between a Trump associate and the head of a Russian investment fund. Source
  • 'It happened very quick': Winnipegger sucker-punched by stranger

    Canada News CTV News
    A Winnipeg woman is worried she may lose the sight in one of her eyes after she says she was punched in the face by a stranger. Brittney Thomas-Ljungberg, 28, says the attack happened Sunday in Winnipeg’s Exchange District. Source
  • Soiled diapers, feces-filled jeans dumped outside elderly couple's home

    Canada News CTV News
    An elderly couple in Nova Scotia says they're tired of the "crap" someone keeps dumping at the end of their driveway. Jack and Mary Skinner say someone has been leaving soiled diapers, dirty underpants and men's jeans filled with feces outside their country home in Upper Branch N.S. Source
  • The Queen is getting a raise

    World News CBC News
    Queen Elizabeth is set to receive an increase in the official funding she receives each year. Buckingham Palace said Tuesday the "sovereign grant" will be roughly $138 million Cdn next year — an increase of more than $10 million Cdn. Source
  • British PM calls for 'major national investigation' into cladding after deadly blaze

    World News CBC News
    British Prime Minister Theresa May said Tuesday there must be a "major national investigation" into the use of potentially flammable cladding fitted to high-rise towers across the country, as police formally identified a five-year-old boy as one of youngest victims of London's Grenfell Tower fire tragedy. Source
  • Black teens pushing float weren’t meant to resemble slaves, parade organizers say

    Canada News CTV News
    Organizers of this year's St. Jean Baptiste celebrations in Montreal have issued an apology to anyone offended by the sight of black teens pushing floats carrying white people during Saturday's parade. A video recorded at the parade and posted online shows pop singer Annie Villeneuve on a float being pushed by what appears to be only people of colour dressed in what many said looked like the rags of slaves. Source
  • China hits back at U.S. on human trafficking downgrade

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING -- China has pre-emptively hit back at the United States for speaking "irresponsibly" ahead of an expected Trump administration move to name China among the world's worst human trafficking offenders. Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Tuesday that China strongly opposes the U.S. Source
  • For many, Canada 150 celebrations pale in comparison to nostalgia of Expo 67

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Dominic Ardonato doesn't see much reason to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday. The retired high school teacher complains about a disappointing economy, racial divides, and political squabbles that dominate his life in Montreal. Source
  • See the view from CN Tower’s new floor-to-ceiling 'window walls'

    Canada News CTV News
    At nearly 41 years old, the CN Tower is making a very sensible, middle-aged adjustment: it's getting transition lenses. The iconic structure in the heart of Toronto has revealed a major renovation on its viewing deck, where two self-tinting, floor-to-ceiling window walls were just unveiled. Source