New Delhi : A row over execution of a top Shia Muslim cleric has built up to the levels of deadline evacuation for the offices of top Iranian diplomats residing in the country of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has given Iranian diplomats 48 hours to leave the country, amid a row over the Saudi execution of a top Shia Muslim cleric. The announcement came in, when, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir announced on Sunday that the country had broken off diplomatic ties with Iran. Iran, from its side said, this would not distract from the act of executing the cleric, and, the IRNA agency reported that Iran calls the step as Riyadh’s ‘big mistake’.
The United States has appealed for calm, and stated that diplomatic engagement is essential to resolve differences. The row escalated when Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others were executed on Saturday after being convicted of terror-related offences. Saudi Arabia announced that it would severe all diplomatic relations with Iran, as demonstrators stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran. To prove its point, it also recalled its diplomats from Tehran. The Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia added that Saudi Arabia would not let Iran undermine its security, and accused it of having distributed weapons and planted terrorist cells in the region. He spoke at a news conference — Iran’s history is full of negative interference and hostility in Arab issues, and it is always accompanied by destruction.
America is maintaining that ties should result in calming of tensions between both sides. US state department spokesman John Kirby said — We will continue to urge leaders across the region to take affirmative steps to calm tensions. We believe that diplomatic engagement and direct conversations remain essential.
Earlier, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei 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. He 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 and Saudi Arabia have been standing on opposite sides of support and have backed opposing sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. Relations between both the countries have been been carrying a baggage of dispute and disagreeance, and had been strained over various issues in recent years, and is reflecting into the present crisis — in which, most of the 47 people executed by Saudi Arabia were Sunnis convicted of involvement in al-Qaeda-linked terror attacks over the last decade.