(London Post) Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has announced that Riyadh is severing diplomatic ties with Iran after demonstrators stormed its Tehran embassy. All Iranian diplomats must leave the kingdom within 48 hours. Speaking at a news conference on Sunday, Jubeir accused Iran of trying to destabilize the region by creating “terrorist cells” in Saudi Arabia.
He added that the latest attack on the embassy was in line with Iran’s alleged earlier attacks on diplomatic buildings.
“The kingdom, in light of these realities, announces the cutting of diplomatic relations with Iran and requests the departure of delegates of diplomatic missions of the embassy and consulate and offices related to it within 48 hours,” he said. “The ambassador has been summoned to notify them.”
Riyadh would not allow the Islamic Republic to undermine the Sunni kingdom’s security, according to Jubeir.
The move comes as the diplomatic crisis between the regional rivals worsens following Tehran executing prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
Saudi diplomats were recalled from Iran after protesters attacked the embassy building in Tehran and a consulate in the second Iranian city Mashhad.
Iran arrested 44 people over the embassy storming, with president Hassan Rouhani calling the incident “totally unjustifiable.”
The execution of the Shiite leader Nimr, however, caused outrage both among the Iran’s officials and the general public. On Sunday, Iran ‘s supreme leader Ali Khamenei said that Saudi Arabia would face “divine retribution.”
Saudi Foreign Minister Jubeir responded to Khamenei’s remarks by saying that Iran’s history was “full of negative interference and hostility in Arab issues, and it is always accompanied by destruction.”
dj/cmk (Reuters, AFP, dpa)