Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Sunday that Saudi Arabia would face “divine revenge” over its execution of a top Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
Protesters ransacked and set fire to the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran Saturday after Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Shiite cleric, Sheik Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, and 46 other people in a single day, which is likely to heighten sectarian tensions in the conflict-ridden Middle East.
But Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has insisted that Nimr did not encourage people to join an armed movement, nor did he engage in secret plotting, but only voiced public criticisms based on religious fervour.
Some protesters threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the embassy, setting off a fire in part of the building, Iran’s top police official, General Hossein Sajedinia, told the semi-official Tasnim news agency early Sunday.
Iranian authorities have also provided protection to a Saudi citizen wanted over the Al Khobar explosions by the so-called Hezbollah Al Hijaz in 1996 and the culprit was arrested past year carrying an Iranian passport, the source said.
It is feared that the death of the outspoken cleric will exacerbate tensions in the region, with activists calling for further protests in Bahrain, and several demonstrations breaking out in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. Shiite leaders in Iran and other countries across the Middle East swiftly condemned Riyadh and warned of a sectarian backlash.
Some were beheaded, and others were shot by firing squad, said the ministry.
The last time Saudi Arabia carried out a mass execution on this scale was in 1980, when the kingdom executed 63 people convicted over the 1979 seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam’s holiest city.
Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that Iranian diplomatic personnel had 48 hours to leave the country and all Saudi diplomatic personnel in Iran were being recalled home.
Iran and Saudi Arabia have been vying for leadership in the Muslim world since Iran’s 1979 revolution, which elevated hard-line Shi’ite clerics to power.
He further called on the Interior Ministry to cooperate with the Judiciary and the Intelligence Ministry to identify perpetrators of Saturday night’s protests at the Saudi embassy and consulate and bring them to justice.
In an apparent swipe at Saudi Arabia’s western allies, Mr Khamenei criticised “the silence of the supposed backers of freedom, democracy and human rights” over the execution. Nimr (56) was among a group of 47 convicts executed on Saturday on charges of supporting terrorism. “The spilling of their pure blood – including of the late cleric Sheik Nimr al-Nimr, may his soul rest in piece – is an injustice and an aggression”.
More in AmeriPublications
South Korea appeals to China to rein in North over nuclear tests
South Korea’s Defense Ministry couldn’t immediately confirm the report.January 21, 2016
Satellite SpaceX fail as rocket topples over while landing
According to a message on Twitter wrote by SpaceX founder Elon Musk, one of the rocket’s landing legs didn’t latch into...January 21, 2016
Ruble Falls to 82 Against US Dollar, 90 Against Euro
Russian Federation is running a budget deficit of 3 percent of GDP this year, and the government is looking to cut...January 21, 2016
19 killed in university attack in Pakistan
He said the operation had ended and security forces were clearing the area, with most of the student victims shot dead...January 21, 2016
Moldova political crisis: Protesters break into parliament
Police arrested several protesters after they clashed with security forces and broke into the parliament building on Wednesday, according to local...January 21, 2016
Military step up search and recovery operation after Somalia raid
MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) – Somalia’s Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab claimed on Sunday to have killed 100 Kenyan soldiers serving under the...January 21, 2016
Sarah Palin: Speculation rife former Alaska governor set to endorse Donald Trump
“And that starts from the top”, she said. “You deserve the best!”January 21, 2016
Bombing close to Russian embassy in Kabul kills 7
At least seven people died on Wednesday when a suicide bomber targeted the Moby Group, a major media production company in...January 21, 2016
NYS Health Officials Advise MDs to Watch for Zika Virus
The move comes after United States health chiefs issued an alert on Friday advising pregnant women to avoid travelling to Brazil...January 21, 2016