Epoch of Saudi-Iranian Cooperation and Rivalry

  • Banafsheh Keynoush


In November 1964, Faisal assumed full power in Saudi Arabia. His rule, made in part possible through the alignment with the clerical establishment, was marked by a commitment to Islam as a unifying force in Saudi domestic and foreign policies. When the shah had earlier dispatched his foreign minister Abbas Aram to convey to Faisal his hope for improved Saudi-Iranian relations, Faisal urged support for Saudi initiatives across the Muslim world to fight communism. The shah was convinced that his ambitious modernization programs would make Iran the most stable country in the Middle East, and he insisted only on promoting Islamic values that were compatible with modern times. Faisal was weary of the shah’s assertions about Iran’s regional standing. But in December 1965, he stopped in Iran on the first leg of a tour of Islamic states he was making after leading two conferences on Islamic unity in Makkah in May 1962 and April 1965. The initiatives led to the establishment of the Muslim World League (rabitat al-alam al-islami) and the Organization for the Islamic Conference (OIC). Iran actively participated in the proceedings of the Makkah conferences, became a founding member of the league and helped establish the OIC, which was inaugurated by Faisal and the shah in Morocco in 1969.1


Saudi Arabia Foreign Policy United Arab Emirate Arab State Price Hike 
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© Banafsheh Keynoush 2016

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  • Banafsheh Keynoush

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