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Published On: Mon, Jan 4th, 2016

Saudi Arabia Cuts Ties With Iran After Embassy In Tehran Was Torched

nsnbc : Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran on Sunday, after protesters stormed and torched the Saudi embassy in the Iranian capital Tehran. The protests came in response to Saudi Arabia’s execution of 47, including the controversial Shi’ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr. 

Saudi Embassy in Tehran torched by protesters on January 2, 2015.

Saudi Embassy in Tehran torched by protesters on January 2, 2015.

Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei called the execution of al-Nimr a political mistake and added that the Saudi Royal Family could expect “divine retribution”.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, for his part, addressed the press in the Saudi capital Riyadh, saying that the Iranian envoy to Riyadh had been instructed to leave Saudi Arabia within 48 hours. Al-Jubeir added that Riyadh would not allow Iran to undermine the Kingdom’s security.

Al-Jubeir said that the attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran was in line Tehran’s history with regard to foreign embassies and Tehran’s attempts to destabilize the region by forming terror cells in Saudi Arabia.

Tehran, for its part, accuses Saudi Arabia for financing and managing terrorist organizations including the self-proclaimed Islamic State, (a.k.a Daesh, ISIS or ISIL), Jabhat al-Nusrah, Liwa-al-Islam, Jaysh al-Islam, among many other. Tehran and Iran have long been waging a war by proxies, even though Tehran is more cautious and less obvious in its financing and management of subversive elements than Riyadh.

Iran’s condemnation of al-Nimr’s execution and Riyadh’s decision to break diplomatic ties with Tehran was mirrored by Lebanon’s Iranian proxy Hezbollah. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, described the execution as “a message of blood”. Moqtada al-Sadr, an influential Iraqi Shi’ite cleric, called for protests of anger.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian spoke on State television, saying that by cutting diplomatic ties, Riyadh could not cover up its major mistake of executing Sheikh Nimr.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani condemned the execution as “inhuman”. Rouhani did, however, urged the prosecution of “extremist individuals” for attacking the embassy and the Saudi consulate in the northeastern city of Mashhad.

The U.S. administration of President Barack Obama responded by encouraging diplomatic engagement between Tehran and Riyadh and affirmative steps to reduce tensions. The USA is, however, the primary ally of Saudi Arabia. Influential US think tanks and government circles are known for aiming at the destabilization of Iran as part of long-term US / NATO strategy. The USA is, among other, supporting the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK). Fanning a Shia – Sunni conflict is part of these strategic considerations.

Nimr Al-Nimr among the 47 executed.

Nimr Al-Nimr among the 47 executed.

The execution of al-Nimr sparked also outrage in Iraq. The predominantly Shi’ite government in the capital Baghdad as well as civil society and religious figures condemned the execution of the Shi’ite cleric who had been an embarrassment for Saudi Arabia for years.

Iraqi government officials also commented on Saudi Arabia’s questionable role with regard to the Islamic State and questioned Riyadh’s attempts to fight the insurgency that controls large parts of Iraq and Syria.

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki denounced Saudi Arabia as early as in 2012 for attempts to destabilize Iraq. The al-Maliki administration pointed out that Saudi Arabia had reopened smuggling routes in Al-Anbar province to supply terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

Top-Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani denounced the described the 47 executions, including that of al-Nimr as unjust aggression. All of the 47 who were executed, including al-Nimr, had been charged with and found guilty on charges including the targeting public utilities, housing compounds and oil companies via using homemade explosives, and guns; they also were convicted over killing a number of civilians and security personnel, the statement added. They also faced charges of belonging to terrorist group, inciting violence.

CH/L – nsnbc 04.01.2015

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