Tension in Middle East boils as Saudi, allies cut ties with Iran

Responding to the storming of its embassy in Tehran over the execution of a Shia Muslim cleric, Saudi Arabia and its allies — UAE, Sudan and Bahrain — break off diplomatic ties with Iran

Riyadh:  Saudi Arabia yesterday snapped diplomatic ties with Iran and asked all Iranian diplomats to leave the country within 48 hours.

Iranian riot police block a street leading to the Saudi embassy as protesters march with portraits of Shia cleric on Sunday. PICs/AFP
Iranian riot police block a street leading to the Saudi embassy as protesters march with portraits of Shia cleric on Sunday. Pics/AFP

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said he has informed the UN Security Council of the attack on the Saudi diplomatic mission in Iran late Saturday, and added that the Saudi diplomats from the mission had safely reached Dubai, the UAE. The Saudi aviation authority also informed that they have cut all air links with Iran.

Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi foreign minister
Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi foreign minister

He accused the Iranian authorities of not taking any measures to prevent the attacks against the embassy in Tehran and the consulate in the city of Mashhad.

Late Saturday, Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi diplomatic mission to protest against the execution of 47 individuals, including a Saudi Shia cleric, Nimr al-Nimr.

Aftermath of executions
In Istanbul, people gathered outside Saudi Arabia’s consulate holding posters of al-Nimr, and shouted “Saudi Arabia will pay the price.” Some Western countries also voiced their concern about the execution. Washington said that to ease tension, it hoped regional leaders could deepen diplomatic ties.    

UAE, Bahrain and Sudan follows Saudi’s suit

Dubai: After Saudi Arabia, its allies, Bahrain, UAE and Sudan,  also severed its ties with Iran. Bahrain ordered Tehran’s envoy to leave within 48 hours, while Sudan expelled the Iranian ambassador from their country. The UAE has recalled its ambassador from Iran and downgraded diplomatic ties.

Russia ready to act as intermediary between nations
Moscow: Russia is ready to serve as an intermediary to resolve the dispute between Saudi Arabia and Iran. "Russia is ready to serve as an intermediary between Riyadh and Tehran," the source said, without providing any specifics about Moscow’s potential role and intent.

Germany warns Saudi Arabia it may review military exports
Berlin: Germany’s Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel warned Saudi Arabia yesterday that Berlin could review military exports to the oil-rich nation in light of Riyadh’s mass executions. Gabriel said Saudi-Iranian ties are "of fundamental importance to resolve  the crises in Syria and Yemen."

Arab League to hold emergency talks on Sunday
Cairo: The Arab League will hold emergency talks on Sunday at the request of Saudi Arabia to discuss attacks in Iran on the kingdom’s embassy. The talks are aimed at "condemning the violations by Iran against the sanctity of the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its embassy in Mashhad," Ahmed Ben Helli said.

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