Riyadh:Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir announced on Sunday that Riyadh severed its diplomatic relations with Tehran one day after the government and people of Iran protested to execution of dissident cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
A weary-looking al-Jubeir whose country is entangled with its prolonged aggression on neighboring Yemen and futile support to the extremist terrorists in Syria and Iraq amid the 11-year-low plummeting prices of the kingdom’s lifline crude oil, told reporters in Saudi capital that Iranian diplomats were asked to depart within 48 hours.
The damage-control announcement follows world-wide protests including angry rallies before Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate general in Mashad in the wake of the execution of the prominent critic of the autocratic regime in Riyadh which is suppressing its Shia minority as second-rate citizens.
Prior to press conference, EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini in a phone call with al-Jubeir voiced her concern over the Saturday executions in Saudi Arabia, including that of Sheikh al-Nimr.
During the conversation, said an EAAS press release, Mogherini ‘expressed her concern for the risk of an escalation of sectarian violence in the Muslim world.’
‘The specific case of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr raises serious concerns regarding freedom of expression and the respect of basic civil and political rights, to be safeguarded in all cases, also in the framework of the fight against terrorism. This case has also the potential of enflaming further the sectarian tensions that already bring so much damage to the entire region, with dangerous consequences,’ Mogherini said in a statement on Saturday.
‘The EU calls on the Saudi authorities to promote reconciliation between the different communities in the Kingdom, and all actors to show restraint and responsibility,’ read the statement.