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Syria’s Opposition Urges All Arab States to Cut Iran Ties

Bahrain and Sudan cut diplomatic ties with Iran and the United Arab Emirates downgrades its relations.

Iranian women gather during a demonstration against the execution of prominent Shiite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi authorities, at Imam Hossein Square in the capital Tehran, January 4, 2016.

Washington and other Western powers have called for calm amid fears the dispute could raise sectarian tensions across the Middle East and derail efforts to resolve conflicts from Syria to Yemen.

The statement follows criticism from opposition parties which lashed out at the government in the National Assembly for not coming up with a clear stance on the situation arising out in the region because of the tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran and called for a parliamentary briefing on the issue.

The commander, Brig. Gen. Mohsen Kazemeini of the Tehran unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, joined other representatives of Iran’s hard-liners in condemning the Saturday attacks, calling them “totally wrong”.

GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump said late Monday that the Iran nuclear deal made Tehran a global power that now threatens Saudi Arabia’s existence. De Mistura will visit Iran this week in an attempt to cool tempers on both sides.

Officials have never said how Nimr was put to death, but beheading by the sword is common in the conservative Sunni Muslim kingdom.

Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, along with Oman and Qatar.

Where do we go from here?

Kuwait’s announcement, which was carried on the state-run Kuwait News Agency, did not explain exactly how Kuwait-Iran diplomatic relations would be affected, reports said.

Before Rouhani spoke, a government spokesman, Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, said cutting diplomatic relations would not hurt Iran or damage its development.

Iran backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against rebels while Saudi Arabia has pushed for his ouster in a civil war in which at least 250,000 people have died and more than 10 million have been displaced internally or driven overseas as refugees.

Amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, a privately owned Saudi satellite broadcaster says its website was the target of a failed hacking attempt.

Saudi Arabia executed 47 prisoners on Saturday, including Sheikh Nimr.

However, Jubeir said Saudi Arabia had been right to execute Nimr, whom he accused of “agitating, organizing cells, providing them with weapons and money” – allegations that the cleric’s family have denied.

The White House and State Department both appealed to Riyadh and Tehran to show restraint and avoid further exacerbating the rift between Sunni-led Saudi Arabia and Shiite-ruled Iran.

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