By: Mir M.Hosseini
The Saudi king threatened Iran with using its newly acquired Chinese missiles. Two days after announcing that Saudi Arabia was breaking diplomatic relations with Iran, King Fahd charged Iran in an interview with repeated acts of aggression against Saudi Arabia. Iranian diplomats were asked to leave the kingdom within a week.
During previous summer's pilgrimage to Mecca, 400 people were killed in riots involving Iranian pilgrims . Iranians repeatedly used Hajj pilgrim as an opportunity to run state's political agenda including inciting Muslims to riot against oppressors and chanting death to America. A subsequent attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran added to the tensions. Saudis, together with some Arab nations joined western countries in an orchestrated campaign to support Iraq financially and militarily against Iran. Iran had also been called a threat for safe navigation in the Persian Gulf, the latter was used as an excuse for American military presence in the region.
The announcement came as an escalation of a quiet confrontation between the revolutionary Iranian regime and the conservative rulers of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Oil producing Arab countries also provided the bulk of financial and logistical support for Iraq in its war with Iran.
Iranians asserted that the Hajj pilgrims not only had the right, but also the obligation to demonstrate against oppressors. The Saudis thus limited the number of Iranian pilgrims and set different obstacles including preventing the arrival of Iranian pilgrims. Fearing from a Shiite uprising or a similar threat to the establishment, the western backed Saudi Arabia repeatedly threatened to use force against political demonstrations in Mecca by Iranians or their supporters.
Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia continued in OPEC meeting in May, 1988 when Saudi Arabia rejected a plan to cut oil production and raise prices. Iran's parliament speaker Rafsanjani, denounced Saudi policy as flagrant treachery serving the interests of the US which aimed to damage Iran. By creating conflicts between Iran as a paper tiger and neighboring countries, imposing trade embargo and economic sanctions, the US managed to contain Iran's revolutionary ideas while creating a huge market for weapons in the region. Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic of Iran turned into a despotic theocracy gradually turning away from basics of both republic and Islam by creating figures such as Velayat and institutions such as the Guardian Council with powers above law and public will.