- Riyadh breaks ties with Tehran
- Follows the execution of outspoken Shia cleric
- Saudi diplomats return home
Saudi Arabia has severed diplomatic relations with Iran in the face of growing outrage among Shia Muslims over the execution of an outspoken cleric.
Just in: Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says the country has cut diplomatic ties with Iran https://t.co/h5Nl9TPJlL— Bloomberg Business (@business) January 3, 2016
UAE Foreign Affairs Minister
AnwarGargash</a> welcomes Saudi diplomats to Dubai after they were recalled from Iran. <a href="https://t.co/YQNdmuWXZa">pic.twitter.com/YQNdmuWXZa</a></p>— Rori Donaghy (roridonaghy) January 3, 2016
The war of words between the Middle East rivals has escalated over the last 24 hours, with the supreme leader of Iran warning that Saudi Arabia would face “divine vengeance” for the execution of outspoken Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
Foreign Minister: the Kingdom Cuts its Diplomatic Relations with Iran and Withdraws Employees of the Saudi Embassy and Consulate in #Iran .— SPAENG (@Spa_Eng) January 3, 2016
The announcement came a day after Iranian protesters ransacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran in outrage over the execution.
Saudi Arabia, which put the cleric to death in a mass execution of 47 men accused of terrorism-related offences, said Iran had “revealed its true face represented in support for terrorism.”
AFP Photo Department (@AFPphoto) January 3, 2016
The heated rhetoric underscored the mounting tensions between the two powers that each consider themselves leaders of the Islamic world and support opposing sides in conflicts across the region.