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Saudi Arabia Cuts Diplomatic Ties With Iran

Saudi Arabia has cut diplomatic ties with Iran over the storming of its embassy in Tehran on Saturday. The move comes while relations between the regional rivals are plunging over the execution of a top Shiite cleric.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir demanded that the Iranian diplomatic mission and related entities leave the country within 48 hours.

He said Riyadh would not allow the Islamic Republic to undermine the Sunni kingdom’s security.

Jubeir claimed the Tehran attack was similar to what he called earlier Iranian assaults on foreign embassies there, accusing Iran of creating “terrorist cells’ inside Saudi Arabia.

“The kingdom, in light of these realities, announces the cutting of diplomatic relations with Iran and requests the departure of delegates of diplomatic missions of the embassy and consulate and offices related to it within 48 hours. The ambassador has been summoned to notify them,” the foreign minister said.

The Saudi diplomats who were evacuated from Tehran following Saturday night’s attack have arrived in Dubai en route to Saudi Arabia, Al Arabiya reported.

The move comes after angry Iranian protesters stormed and set ablaze the Saudi embassy in Tehran on Saturday night during a rally in condemnation of Riyadh’s execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

Nimr was among 47 people beheaded or shot by firing squad across Saudi Arabia on Saturday in the biggest single-day execution spree since 1980.

All but four of the condemned were convicted as Al-Qaeda members, while Nimr and three other Shias were accused of inciting riots among Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority between 2010 and 2012, when Nimr was arrested.

The execution of Nimr, a public figure popular with youths, alongside terrorists responsible for a series of bombings carried out between 2003 and 2006, provoked additional outrage in the Shia world.

Iran summoned the Saudi ambassador, and just hours later, a mob set fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran, chanting “Death to Al Saud!” – the ruling family of Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi consulate in the city of Mashhad in northwestern Iran was also attacked by protesters on Saturday, with police interfering after rocks and Molotov cocktails were thrown at the building.

Earlier on Sunday, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, released a provocative cartoon, which drew a comparison between the executions by Saudi Arabia with those carried out by Islamic State terrorists.

Khamenei also issued a statement saying “divine vengeance” would surely befall Saudi Arabia because of its execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and condemning Riyadh for its bombing campaign in Yemen and support for the Bahraini regime.

Police were forced to use tear gas to disperse the protesters, who made their way into the building and trashed the ground floor of the embassy, tearing apart Saudi flags, furniture and documents.

The building then caught fire and was engulfed in huge big blaze, apparently caused by Molotov cocktails thrown by the rioters.


Courtesy of RT

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