News & Politics

BREAKING: Saudi Arabia Cuts Diplomatic Ties with Iran

Iranian demonstrators burn a representation of the U.S. and Israeli flags during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran, Iran, to protest the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent opposition Shiite cleric, seen in posters, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

This just in:

Saudi foreign minister says kingdom cuts relations with Iran – @Reuters
More: Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told news conference Iran’s diplomatic mission and related entities in Saudi Arabia given 48 hours to leave – @Reuters
The news comes in the wake of the Saudis’ execution of a prominent Shi’a cleric.

Since Saudi Arabia executed 47 people in one day, exasperation has poured in from human rights activists and sectarian anger has spread in the Middle East — over the death of one man. Shia Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr was a fervent dissident against the Sunni Muslim Saudi royal family and called for their deposal during the Arab spring uprisings in 2011.

He died on Saturday alongside 46 terrorism convicts. Later that night, in predominantly Shia Iran, Molotov cocktails smashed into the Saudi embassy in Tehran. Protesters shouted as it caught fire. Some went inside and ransacked offices.

Meanwhile:

UPDATE: The New York Times has the breaking story here:

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday and gave all Iranian diplomats 48 hours to leave the kingdom, as escalating tensions over the execution of an outspoken Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabiamarked a new low in relations between the two Middle Eastern powers.

The surprise move, announced in a televised news conference by Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, followed harsh criticism by Iranian leaders of the Saudi execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and the storming of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran by protesters in response.

Mr. Jubeir said that the kingdom would not allow Iran to undermine the kingdom’s security.

The supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned Saturday thatSaudi Arabia would face divine vengeance for the execution of Sheikh Nimr, a day after Iranian protesters ransacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. Saudi Arabia, which put the cleric to death in a mass execution of 47 men accused of terrorism-related offenses, fired back, saying Iran had “revealed its true face represented in support for terrorism.”

The best part about this spat is, in a war between these two malign Muslim states, they really can both lose. As my friend Brad Thor just tweeted: