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Saudi summons Iran envoy over execution remarks

Saudi Arabia summoned Iran's ambassador over Tehran’s “hostile” reaction to executions carried out against terrorism convicts

Published: Updated:

Saudi Arabia summoned Iran's ambassador on Saturday over what it described as Tehran’s “hostile” reaction to executions carried out by the kingdom against terrorism convicts, the state news agency SPA reported.

The foreign ministry statement, published on the official SPA news agency, said the kingdom handed the Iranian envoy a “strongly worded memorandum” to express "the kingdom's astonishment and its utter rejection of these hostile statements, which it deemed a blatant intervention in the kingdom's affairs."

The Saudi foreign ministry also said it holds Iran responsible for the protection of its embassy in Tehran and its consulate in the northeast Iranian city of Mashhad.

Earlier in the day, Saudi Arabia executed 47 people convicted of plotting and carrying out terrorist attacks, targeting civilians and security forces in the kingdom.

Of the 47 executed, 45 were Saudis, as well as one Chadian and one Egyptian, according to a list of names and nationalities published by SPA.

Among the convicts were Fares al-Shuwail, said to be a high ranking member of Al Qaeda, and Shiite preacher Nimr al-Nimr.

The execution of Nimr was criticized by Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a prominent Iranian cleric and a member of the Assembly of Experts, who predicted repercussions following the preacher's execution.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari strongly condemned Riyadh for executing Nimr in statements carried by the official IRNA news agency. Parliament speaker Ali Larijani also condemned Nimr's death.

The Basij student militia connected to Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards called for a demonstration Sunday afternoon in front of the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

56-year-old Nimr was a driving force behind the protests that broke out in 2011 in the kingdom’s east.

He was arrested in 2012 and did not deny the political charges against him.

At the time, the Saudi interior ministry described him as an “instigator of sedition” after his arrest in the eastern village of Awamiya after being wounded.

In October 2014, Nimr’s death sentence was confirmed after he had been found guilty of seeking "foreign meddling" in the kingdom, among other charges.

(with AFP)