Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran and ordered diplomats and delegates to leave the kingdom within 48 hours.
Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told a group of reporters in Riyadh that Saudi was not going to allow Iran to undermine its security, and referenced the storming of its embassy in Tehran, Reuters reported. Iranian protesters, angry at the execution of a Shiite Muslim cleric, rushed the Saudi embassy in Tehran over the weekend, while Ali Khamenei, the country’s ayatollah, vowed “divine vengeance,” Reuters reported.
“The kingdom, inlight 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,” Jubeir said, Reuters reported. “The ambassador has been summoned to notify them.”
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Iran responded with an angry message on state television.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said the severing of diplomatic ties doesn’t mean Riyady could gloss over its “major mistake of executing [cleric] Sheikh Nimr,” Reuters reported.
The White House issued a brief message, via an aide to President Obama, calling to a return to diplomacy between the two nations.
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“We believe that diplomatic engagement and direct conversations remain essential in working through differences and we will continue to urge leaders across the region to take affirmative steps to calm tensions,” the aide said, Reuters reported.
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