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Cold War in the Islamic WorldSaudi Arabia, Iran and the Struggle for Supremacy$
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Dilip Hiro

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190944650

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190944650.001.0001

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Black Gold and America Shape Iran and Saudi Arabia

Black Gold and America Shape Iran and Saudi Arabia

(p.21) 2 Black Gold and America Shape Iran and Saudi Arabia
Cold War in the Islamic World

Dilip Hiro

Oxford University Press

The discovery of oil near Masjid-e-Suleiman in Iran in 1908 by a British company aroused interest in Britain and America to explore the wider region for it. Standard Oil Company of California (Socal) secured oil concessions in Saudi Arabia from King Ibn Saud in 1933. The subsequent Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco) struck oil in 1938. The importance of Saudi petroleum increased when, following Iran’s nationalization of the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) in 1951, Western countries boycotted Iranian oil. The political turmoil in Iran ended with the restoration of the briefly deposed Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi to the throne with the assistance of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in August 1953. He leased the rights to Iran’s petroleum to the consortium of four Western oil companies for twenty-five years. With that, the United States became the prime Western influence in Tehran. By then Riyadh had forged military links with Washington. Soon rivalry developed between King Saud, a spendthrift ruler, and his austere Crown Prince Faisal. It ended with Saud abdicating in favor of Faisal in 1964. Four years earlier, Saudi Arabia had become one of the five founders of the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Keywords:   Masjid-e-Suleiman, Oil discovery, Socal, Shah Pahlavi, Ibn Saud, Aramco, AIOC, King Saud, OPEC

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