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Saudi mission in Tehran attacked after Shia cleric’s death

January 3, 2016 at 2:28 pm

Iranian protesters with photos of ex-defence minister of Saudi Arabia and late Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud gather outside the Saudi Embassy in Tehran during a demonstration against the execution of prominent Shiite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi authorities, on January 2, 2016 [MOHAMMADREZA NADIMI/ISNA/AFP via Getty Images]

Iranian protesters have torched a building belonging to the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran to protest the execution on Saturday of prominent Saudi Shia cleric Nimr Baqir Al-Nimr, according to an Iranian news agency.

The Iranian Students News Agency reported late Saturday that a group of protesters, after converging outside the embassy, had stormed the building and set fire to it while shouting anti-Saudi slogans.

According to the news agency, Iranian security forces eventually drove the protesters from building, although groups of demonstrators remain in the vicinity of the embassy.

The extent of the damage sustained by the building remains unknown until now.

On Saturday, the Saudi authorities executed 45 Saudi citizens – along with one Egyptian and one Chadian national – who had been convicted of committing acts of “terrorism”.

Among those executed was Shia Muslim cleric Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who, before his arrest in July of 2012, had led mass protests against the Saudi authorities in the kingdom’s eastern Qatif province.

In a ruling handed down by a top Saudi court on October 25, al-Nimr was convicted of “inciting sedition and revolt”.

Those executed on Saturday also included several individuals linked to the Al-Qaeda militant group.

According to a Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman, some were executed by firing squad while others were beheaded.

Following Al-Nimr’s execution, predominantly-Shia Iran warned that Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia would pay “a heavy price” for his death.

According to the Iranian Republican News Agency (IRNA), the Iranian Foreign Ministry has summoned Saudi Arabia’s charge d’affaires in Tehran and strongly condemned Al-Nimr’s execution.

Fierce regional rivals, Tehran and Riyadh currently support opposing sides in ongoing conflicts in both Syria and Yemen.