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Iraq offers to mediate between Saudi Arabia, Iran

Riyadh and some of its allies, including Bahrain and Djibouti, have also cut off diplomatic ties with Iran after the Saudi embassy there was ransacked by protesters.

Co-operation between Saudi Arabia and Iran is crucial in resolving a range of issues in the Middle East, where they are often on opposing sides.

Council members urged the sides to “maintain dialogue and take steps to reduce tensions in the region”.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran last night, after protesters had stormed and set fire to the building on Saturday.

Turkish Prime Minister on Tuesday condemned attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions by Iranian protestors in the wake of the execution of a leading Shia Muslim cleric by Riyadh.

Saudi King Salman’s sudden action in cutting air connections and diplomatic ties with Tehran ran counter to United States efforts to build a working relationship with Iran and finally end the four-year-old Syrian conflict, that has taken around 400,000 lives, Kiriakou noted.

Sunni-led Bahrain followed suit and cut ties with Iran, while the United Arab Emirates recalled its ambassador from Iran and downgraded diplomatic relations with Tehran.

Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister (pictured above, right), criticized Saudi Arabia for its confrontational attitude and blamed it for exacerbating tensions. Expressing “deep concern” over the attacks, the council “called on the Iranian authorities to protect diplomatic and consular property and personnel and to respect fully their global obligations in this regard”.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has made repeated calls for calm to both Iranian and Saudi leaders.

Sheikh Nimr was among 47 people beheaded or shot by firing squad across Saudi Arabia on Saturday – the largest number of individuals executed in a single day since 1980.

Iran has responded angrily to the diplomatic moves, insisting it had no hand in the violent protests that followed the execution.

Iran’s Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi was quoted by Iranian media as saying “the latest action against the Saudi embassy could be planned and supported by infiltrated agents”.

“It is not the moment for the Iranians to detonate mines in the Gulf” region as they await an effective lifting of sanctions and are about to start exporting oil again, said the diplomat.

The U.N. envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, was en route to Riyadh on Monday with plans to later visit Tehran.

He was arrested in 2012 after calling for two Saudi governorates to be separated from the kingdom.

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