RIYADH – Just a day after Iranians stormed and set on fire the Saudi embassy in Tehran over the execution of prominent Shia leader Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, Saudi Arabia on Sunday ordered Iran’s Ambassador in Riyadh Hussein Sadiqi to leave the country within 24 hours.
On Saturday – Saudi Arabia executed 47 people – a move that resulted in outrage across the Middle East, especially Iraq and Iran. Most of the 47 executed were convicted of al Qaeda attacks in Saudi Arabia a decade ago. But four – including Nimr – were Shia Muslims accused of shooting policemen during anti-government protests in recent years.
Haitham al-Jubouri – an Iraqi lawmaker – said the execution of Nimr represents the beginning of the end of the ruling family (in Saudi Arabia). “This move came ignite sectarian strife in the region and the world as well,” he said.
Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also condemned the execution of Nimr by Saudi Arabia. “While the Saudi government supports extremist groups, it cracks down on and executes its dissidents,” spokesperson Hossein Jaber Ansari said.