Saudi Arabia cuts diplomatic relations with Iran

Saudi Foreign Minister Jubeir says kingdom has cut diplomatic ties with Iran after attack on its embassy in Tehran

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, pictured on December 10, 2015, said that all Iranian diplomats must leave Saudi Arabia within 48 hours

Updated Jan 4, 2016

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran after an attack on its embassy in Tehran, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir said in a news conference on Sunday.

Foreign Minister Jubeir also said Iran's diplomatic mission and related entities in Saudi Arabia had been given 48 hours to leave.

The call came after Iranians protesting Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al Nimr stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran early on Sunday.

"The kingdom, in light of these realities, announces the cutting of diplomatic relations with Iran and requests the departure of delegates of diplomatic missions of the embassy and consulate and offices related to it within 48 hours. The ambassador has been summoned to notify them," Jubeir told a news conference.  

Saudi Arabia withdrew its own diplomatic personnel from the attacked embassy and they landed in Dubai on the way to Saudi Arabia, Al Arabia reported late on Sunday.

Following the execution of Nimr, Saudi Arabia faced backlash and protests from Shiites, as the most criticism came from Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional rival.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei condemned the execution and said "divine vengeance will befall Saudi politicians."

Nimr and three other Shiites were accused of involvement in shootings and petrol bomb attacks that killed several police officers during anti-government protests during the "Arab Spring."

The tension between the two countries was already high since they have been backing different sides in the wars in Yemen and Syria. 

Saudi Arabia cuts trade ties and bans flights and visits

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Reuters on Monday that his country's actions against Iran will extend to cutting flights, trade and commercial relations and banning its citizens from travelling to Iran.

However, Iranian pilgrims will still be welcome to visit Mecca and Medina. He also said Iran must behave like "a normal country" instead of "a revolution" and respect international norms before relations could be restored, Jubeir said in an interview. 

TRTWorld and agencies