Saudi Arabia breaks ties with Iran

  • 04/01/2016
Protestors during a demonstration against the execution of Nimr al-Nimr in Tehran (Reuters)
Protestors during a demonstration against the execution of Nimr al-Nimr in Tehran (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia says it has broken diplomatic ties with Iran, after protestors stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran at the weekend over the execution of a Shiite cleric.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said all Iranian diplomats must leave Saudi Arabia within 48 hours, the BBC reports.

Witness Shirzad Bozorgmehr told CNN: "People are gathering around and are already chanting 'death to America, death to Israel, death to Saudi Arabia'" outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

This follows last night's events when the embassy was set on fire, however it was put out around 3am (local time).


Forty-six others were executed on Saturday alongside Nimr al-Nimr, after being convicted of terror-related offences.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei warned Saudi Arabia after the execution of "martyr" Nimr al-Nimr, saying it would "cost Saudi Arabia dearly", according to Reuters.

Protestors broke into the embassy, smashed furniture and set fire to it on Saturday before police arrived, and several hundred gathered outside the building again on Sunday, Reuters reports.

Khamenei says the cleric was executed for his opposition to Saudi Arabia's Sunni rulers.

"The only act of Sheikh Nimr was outspoken criticism," he tweeted, saying "the unfairly-spilled blood of oppressed martyr Sheikh Nimr will affect rapidly and Divine revenge will seize Saudi politicians".

Sheikh Nimr was a figurehead amongst anti-government protests until his arrest in 2012.

The US has responded to Saudi Arabia's execution of 47 people, with Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton saying it "raises serious questions that we have to raise directly with the Saudi government", CNN reports.

"I think that even our friends who we work with on so many areas should not be immune from our criticism and our questions about rule of law about their treatment of minorities," she says.

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