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Saudi Arabia cuts diplomatic ties with Iran

January 4, 2016 at 10:09 am

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir on 26 August 2016 [Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Wikipedia]

Saudi Arabia on Sunday announced the cutting of diplomatic ties to Iran after attacks on its missions in Tehran and Mashhad.

Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir announced the move at a news conference in capital Riyadh. He said all Iranian diplomats must leave Saudi Arabia within 48 hours.

Following the execution of 47 prisoners on Saturday, including prominent Shia Muslim cleric Nimr Baqir Al-Nimr, protestors stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran and the Saudi consulate in the northeastern city of Mashhad.

The protestors set fire to the embassy building before being evicted by Iranian security forces.

Before his arrest in July of 2012, al-Nimr led mass protests against the Saudi authorities in the kingdom’s eastern Qatif province.

Predominantly-Shia Iran warned that Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia would pay “a heavy price” for al-Nimr’s death.

Iran summoned Saudi Arabia’s charge d’affaires in Tehran on Saturday and strongly condemned the execution.

The fierce regional rivals support opposing sides in ongoing conflicts in Syria and Yemen.