Middle East: Extravagant Dissension

Absent Iran dominates the Islamic summit

The new chandeliers in the palatial $250 million conference center glittered brilliantly, and fleets of limousines shuttled among 70 newly built VIP villas. But no amount of extravagance could conceal the divisions that plagued the 37 Muslim nations represented at last week's third Islamic summit in Saudi Arabia's mountain resort of Taif.

The conference was set back at the beginning by Iran's refusal to attend and, in a way, was dominated throughout by the absence of the Iranians. Even a special delegation that flew to Tehran was turned back by Iran's refusal to share any...

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