UN Condemns Saudi-Iran Dispute

SaudiThe UN Security Council has strongly condemned an attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran by protesters angered by the execution of a Shia cleric.

Saudi Arabia has broken off diplomatic relations with Iran and is cutting trade and air links.

On Monday, some of Riyadh’s allies also joined diplomatic action against Iran.

Meanwhile, the Turkish government had urged both sides to calm their diplomatic row, saying the dispute will only worsen regional tensions.

Deputy Prime Minister, Numan Kurtulmus, said that the Middle East is “already a powder keg”.

He criticised attacks on Saudi missions in Iran and he also criticized Saudi Arabia’s execution of a Shia Muslim cleric, which triggered the dispute.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are respectively the key Sunni Muslim and Shia powers in the region and back opposing sides in Syria and Yemen.

Saudi Arabia had earlier criticised UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who had spoken of his “dismay” at the executions, however, Mr Mouallimi described Mr Ban’s comments as “misinformed”.

Following the attacks on the missions, Saudi authorities announced late on Sunday that they were severing diplomatic relations with Iran. They said that all commercial and air traffic links were being cut and that Saudi citizens were banned from travelling to Iran.

 

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.