Saudi Arabia severs ties with Iran: foreign minister

Published: January 4, 2016
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. PHOTO: REUTERS

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. PHOTO: REUTERS

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. PHOTO: REUTERS PHOTO: REUTERS

RIYADH: Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir announced Sunday that Saudi Arabia was severing diplomatic ties with Iran after demonstrators stormed its Tehran embassy to protest against Riyadh’s execution of a Shia cleric.

Jubeir also said that all Iranian diplomats must leave Saudi Arabia within 48 hours.

Saudi Arabia says 47 executed on terror charges, including top Shia cleric

Saudi Arabia “is breaking off diplomatic ties with Iran and requests that all members of the Iranian diplomatic mission leave… within 48 hours,” he told a news conference.

On Saturday, a mob attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran and a consulate in second city Mashhad amid protests at the execution in Saudi Arabia of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

The 56-year-old, a force behind 2011 anti-government protests in eastern Saudi Arabia, was among 47 convicted men put to death on Saturday in the kingdom.

The others were Shia activists and Sunnis who the Saudi interior ministry said were involved in al Qaeda attacks, with some beheaded and others shot by firing squad.

Iran arrested 44 people over the embassy assault, which President Hassan Rouhani described as “totally unjustifiable”.

But the Islamic republic’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei condemned Nimr’s execution, saying “God will not forgive” Saudi Arabia for putting him to death.

Jubeir responded on Sunday by saying “Iran’s history is full of negative interference and hostility in Arab issues, and it is always accompanied by destruction.”

Outrage over cleric’s execution: Protesters storm Saudi embassy in Tehran

Relations between Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and Shia-ruled Iran have been strained for decades, with Riyadh frequently accusing Tehran of interfering in Arab affairs.

Both countries are also divided over a raft of issues, namely the nearly five-year war in Syria, where Iran is allied with the regime of embattled President Bashar al-Assad, and Yemen where a Saudi-led coalition is battling Iran-backed rebels.

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Reader Comments (25)

  • Jan 4, 2016 - 2:16AM

    Never take decisions in anger. Please be humble and then take wise decisions. Recommend

  • Emad
    Jan 4, 2016 - 2:28AM

    Whatever the cause, protection of Saudi embassy in Tehran is the responsibility of the Iranian government and under no circumstances can diplomats be threatened. It was actually very generous of the Saudis to let the Iranian diplomats go without posing any threat to their livesRecommend

  • ajeet
    Jan 4, 2016 - 2:55AM

    We are with our Iranian brothers in this struggle against Arab imperialism.Recommend

  • Violation
    Jan 4, 2016 - 4:11AM

    Each time the Iranians have an issue with another country, they resort to disrupting a foreign embassy and disregard International Law. All civilized nations respect the inviolability of foreign embassies.Recommend

  • qbc
    Jan 4, 2016 - 4:23AM

    How lucky is iran now they don’t have to sit in the same room as the evil terrorists saudis.

    Hope pakistan breaks ties with saudi Arabia because saudi Arabia is responsible for killing over 74000 Pakistanis.

    Saudi pokes it’s nose into every country including
    Afghanistan pakistan yemen Syria Egypt Bahrain and so on.

    Saudi Arabia is responsible for every sucide bombing in the world.

    Saudi Arabia is responsible for making Muslims look bad through out the world.
    Saudi Arabia is responsible for isis al qeada boko garam the taliban and all terrorist groups that kill civilians.

    Saudis best friends with the USA isreal what more can I say yet some terrorist supporters in pakistan support them how sad.Recommend

  • Asad
    Jan 4, 2016 - 5:24AM

    Saudis are extremists even in politics… no surprise…Recommend

  • Jibran
    Jan 4, 2016 - 5:24AM

    Saudis are going berserk. All the policies by the new regime has backfired on them. Support of ISIS, anarchy in Syria, slaughtering in Yemen, oil market manipulation, and now this butchery at home. With economy in free fall, they should realize that they are no longer a power. They have already been abandoned by the Western powers, and will be increasing isolated in coming months for their continued support of terrorism and extremist philosophy.Recommend

  • Sane Khan
    Jan 4, 2016 - 5:47AM

    They were never a power to begin with.
    With the policies, it looks like very soon we will see Islamic Republic of Arabia. Recommend

  • Sam
    Jan 4, 2016 - 6:35AM

    KSA will expect PK to follow its lead. All Shia citizens will now become non citizensRecommend

  • NHA
    Jan 4, 2016 - 7:38AM

    It is imperative on Pak Shia and Sunni populations to exercise caution and not get involved in foreign disputes. Do not disturb our own peace and hurt our own interest.

    Ulema & politicians please guide people in interest of our country. If any politician / religious scholars shows partisanship he will only be damaging Pak.Recommend

  • Jan 4, 2016 - 10:11AM

    Both the countries reacted like children.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Jan 4, 2016 - 10:18AM

    Both countries (KSA and Iran ) have their problems and issues, but Pakistan best remain neutral; as India did by camouflaging itself over the decades of being ‘non-aligned’ between US and USSR and later Russia.Recommend

  • Pakistaniat
    Jan 4, 2016 - 10:25AM

    What are you on about? Go to sleepRecommend

  • ZAK
    Jan 4, 2016 - 10:25AM

    If you want live with peace stop interfering in one another areas.Recommend

  • Jameel ur Rasheed
    Jan 4, 2016 - 10:40AM

    While most countries adopt diplomatic ways to tackle situation like these, including launching a formal protest against action of foreign government, Iranians have always destroyed and burnt foreign embassies. Security of foreign diplomats and their staff is the ultimate responsibility of host country. If they can send generals in Syria and Yemen, I think they know very well what’s happening on the streets of Tehran. I am totally backing Saudi Arabia this time.Recommend

  • Amir
    Jan 4, 2016 - 10:41AM

    Where is the role of OIC?
    where is the Muslim brotherhood trumpeted? Where is the teaching of Islam?Recommend

  • Mamu
    Jan 4, 2016 - 10:41AM

    Good Job. Iran deserves it. Now all the rest of the countries shall follow.Recommend

  • Raheel
    Jan 4, 2016 - 10:48AM

    It is mind boggling that commentators here are still blaming KSA of intolerance. Can a country not even punish its own citizen who has KSA passport??? Should all the countries all the world ask Iran if they can punish their own shia citizen??? These are hard questions who Iran has no answer to and it has resorted to agitation.

    Kudos to KSA for showing patients and letting the diplomats leave peacefully.Recommend

  • Pakhtun
    Jan 4, 2016 - 1:05PM

    Its the beginning of the end for the Saudi Monarch. Recommend

  • AZOZ
    Jan 4, 2016 - 1:11PM

    Everyone should read Iran policy with other countries and with its people in order to be aware of what you are doing scent State of the worst foreign policy
    Who is responsible in the murder of Iraqis and who is responsible in the killing of Syrians and support the government of Bashar Iran is on the whole to realize that Saudi Arabia and the State of Peace

    In Iran, 78% of people below the poverty lineRecommend

  • Sam
    Jan 4, 2016 - 1:12PM

    @Pakistaniyat – My friend – “There is no one as blind as one that does to want to see.” Good luck and God bless.Recommend

  • Jan 4, 2016 - 1:33PM

    Saud family is making all the wrong moves…Recommend

  • Junaid
    Jan 4, 2016 - 3:20PM

    and one of the very important step in exercising this caution is to stop the demonstrations being arranged here in Pak to support their foreign masters. Recommend

  • NHA
    Jan 4, 2016 - 4:25PM

    @Junaid: . I fully agree . No demonstrations in support or against of any overseas constituency should be allowed.

    In fact we all should , through the goof offices of this publication & readership, request the senior leadership of government to issue stern warning to who might be thinking to doing it and in the process creating mayhem for the country & making Money for themselves to desist from it.. Recommend

  • prabhjyot singh madan
    Jan 4, 2016 - 6:34PM

    Paaji, don’t take sides here. Saudis have done us no harm and neither has the Iranians. Both have good diplomatic relations with us so treat them equally well. Rab rakhaRecommend

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