Saudi Arabia severs ties with Iran over cleric’s execution


Saudi Arabia has said that it was breaking off diplomatic ties with Iran, amid row over Saudi execution of Shia cleric, reports Britain’s BBC and Sky News.

Saudi Arabia announced late Sunday that it would officially sever ties with Iran after having two of its diplomatic posts attacked in the Islamic republic.

Protesters storming Saudi embassy in Tehran

Speaking in an address aired by Al Arabiya News Channel, Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said that Iranian diplomats working in the kingdom would be expelled.

He also accused Iran of having a long-track record of violating diplomatic missions, and called Tehran a regional menace for its smuggling of arms and explosives and its previous harboring of Al-Qaeda militants.

Earlier, Saudi foreign ministry’s spokesman said Iran had not stopped protesters storming its consulate in Mashhad.

Adel al-Jubeir was speaking after demonstrators had stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others were executed on Saturday. Saudi Arabia found them guilty of “terrorism”.

Jubeir said that all Iranian diplomats must leave Saudi Arabia within 48 hours.

Earlier, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that the Sunni Muslim kingdom would face “divine revenge” for the execution – an act which also angered Shia Muslims elsewhere in the Middle East.

Ayatollah Khamenei called Sheikh Nimr a “martyr” who had acted peacefully.

Sheikh Nimr has been a critic of Saudi’s Sunni royal family and was arrested several times in the past. There were allegations the Saudi’s secret police also tortured him in detention.

He had considerably huge following among the Saudi Shi’a Muslim youth.

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