Saudi Arabia Severs Ties With Iran
Jan. 3, 2016 3:36pm Dave Urbanski
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (TheBlaze/AP) — Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir says his country is severing diplomatic ties with Iran amid spiking tensions over the execution of a prominent Saudi Shiite cleric.
Al-Jubeir said late Sunday evening that Iranian diplomatic personnel had 48 hours to leave the country and all Saudi diplomatic personnel in Iran were being recalled home.
Demonstrators in Tehran broke into the Saudi Embassy early Sunday morning to protest the execution of Shiekh Nimr al-Nimr, a leader of the country’s Shiite minority.
Iranian officials harshly condemned the execution — which took place alongside the execution of 46 others — as Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared that Saudi Arabia would face “divine retribution.”
The ultraconservative Sunni kingdom and Shiite powerhouse Iran have waged a bitter struggle for regional power for years. The two countries each back opposing sides in civil wars in Yemen and in Syria.
Meanwhile the U.S. State Department called on the Iranian government to protect the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and urged both nations to avoid escalating regional Sunni-Shiite tensions.
Spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters Sunday that the U.S. supports the right to peaceful protest, but “we condemn in the strongest terms any attacks on diplomatic properties.”
Trudeau called on both Iran and Saudi Arabia refrain from “any actions that could further heighten tensions.”