Iraq To Intervene In Iran/Saudi Row         

 iraqIraq has sent its foreign minister to Tehran with an offer to mediate in an escalating feud between Saudi Arabia and Iran, reflecting Baghdad’s fears that new sectarian conflict could undo its campaign against Islamic State.

On arrival in Iran, the Iraq Foreign Minister told journalists his country has solid relations with Iran and Saudi Arabia and therefore cannot stay silent in the crisis.

Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shi’ite cleric on Saturday has inflamed sectarian anger across the Middle East, infuriating Iran.

Powerful Iran-backed Shi’ite militia called on Iraqi Prime Minister, Haidar Al-Abadi on Wednesday to shut a Saudi embassy that reopened only last month after decades of strained ties.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday after protesters hit the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

Both countries are major rivals in the Middle East and back opposing sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

There has been immediate reaction from Saudi Arabia to the Iraqi mediation offer.

Saudi-Iran Row: Kerry Calls For Calm

saudi-iran conflictUS officials have said that the United States is trying to mend fences between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Secretary of State, John Kerry, has appealed to both sides to remain calm while State Department spokesman, John Kirby, explained that the phone conversations involve foreign ministers of both countries and the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday after protesters hit the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

Both countries are major rivals in the middle east and back opposing sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

On Tuesday, Kuwait said it was recalling its ambassador from Tehran, describing the attack on the Saudi Embassy as a “flagrant breach of international norms”.

Saudi allies Bahrain and Sudan broke off diplomatic relations with Iran on Monday and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has also downgraded its diplomatic team in Tehran.

On Monday, the UN Security Council issued a strongly worded statement condemning the attack on the Saudi Embassy – making no mention of the execution of Shia Muslim Cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others on terrorism charges.

Saudi Arabia Breaks Off Ties With Iran After Al-Nimr Execution

saudi arabia breaks off ties with iranSaudi Arabia has broken off diplomatic ties with Iran, amid a row over the Saudi execution of a prominent Shia Muslim cleric.

Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, made the announcement after demonstrators stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr and 46 others were executed on Saturday after being convicted of terror-related offences.

Mr Jubeir said that all Iranian diplomats must leave Saudi Arabia within 48 hours and the kingdom is also recalling its diplomats from Tehran.

Iran is Saudi Arabia’s main regional rival – they back opposing sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

BBC reported that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had earlier warned that the Sunni Muslim Kingdom would face “divine revenge” for the execution – an act which also angered Shia Muslims elsewhere in the Middle East.

Ayatollah Khamenei called Sheikh Nimr a “martyr” who had acted peacefully.

Protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran late on Saturday, setting fire to the building before being driven back by police. The Saudi Foreign Ministry said none of its diplomats had been harmed in the incident.

Iran is Saudi Arabia’s main regional rival – they back opposing sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

Relations between the countries have been strained over various issues in recent decades, including Iran’s nuclear programme and deaths of Iranians at the Hajj pilgrimage in 1987 and again in 2015.

US Warns Saudi Arabia Over Execution Of Shia Cleric

Shia Cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-NimrThe United States has warned that the execution of prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia could worsen sectarian tensions in the Middle East.

Sheikh Nimr’s execution sparked anger in Shia communities across the region, with protests in Saudi’s Eastern Province as well as in Iran, Bahrain among other countries.

The US State Department urged leaders throughout the region to redouble efforts to lower tensions.

In a statement, US state spokesman, John Kirby, appealed to Saudi Arabia’s government to respect and protect human rights, and to ensure fair and transparent judicial proceedings.

Mr Kirby also urged the Saudi government to permit peaceful expression of dissent along with other leaders in the region, to redouble efforts to reduce regional tensions.

Angry Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran and set fire to the building in response to the execution.

Sheikh Nimr was one of 47 people executed for terrorism offences.

He was a vocal supporter of mass protests in the Saudi-Arabia’s Shea-majority Eastern Province in 2011.

Saturday’s executions were carried out simultaneously in 12 locations across Saudi Arabia. Of the 47 executed, one was a Chadian national while another was Egyptian. The rest were Saudis.

The international rights group, Amnesty International, said that the 47 executions demonstrated the Saudi authorities’ “utter disregard for human rights and life” and called Sheikh Nimr’s trial “political and grossly unfair”.

Saudi Arabia Executes Top Shia Cleric

Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-NimrThe government of Saudi Arabia has executed prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

The Interior Ministry said he was among 47 people put to death after being convicted of terrorism offences.

The Sheikh was a vocal supporter of the mass anti-government protests that erupted in eastern province in 2011, where a Shia majority have long complained of marginalisation.

Out of the 47 people executed, one was a Chadian national while another was Egyptian. The rest are Saudis.

According to BCC, protests broke out in early 2011 in the oil-rich Eastern Province in the wake of the Arab Spring.

Sheikh Nimr’s arrest two years ago, during which he was shot, triggered days of unrest in which three people were killed.

Sheikh Nimr has been a persistent critic of Saudi Arabia’s Sunni royal family, but his supporters said that he supported only peaceful demonstrations and eschewed all violent opposition to the government.