Saudi cuts ties with Iran, expels Tehran envoys

Saudi’s foreign minister said Iran’s diplomatic mission and related entities in Saudi Arabia had been given 48 hours to leave

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Saudi Arabia announced late on Sunday that is officially severing ties with Iran after having two of its diplomatic posts were attacked in the Tehran and Mashhad.

Saudi’s Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir, speaking in an address aired by Al Arabiya News Channel, said Iran’s diplomatic mission staff and related structures in Saudi Arabia had been given 48 hours to leave.

He also accused Iran of having a long-track record of violating diplomatic missions, and called Tehran a regional menace for its smuggling of arms and explosives and its harboring of al-Qaeda militants since 2001.

Jubeir’s announcement comes after demonstrators stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran on Saturday in protest against Riyadh’s executions of 47 people convicted of terrorism, which include Shiite preacher Nimr al-Nimr and al-Qaeda ideologue Fares al-Shuwail.

The demonstrators stormed the Saudi embassy building in the Iranian capital, smashed furniture and started fires before being ejected by police. No Saudi embassy staff were in the building at the time.

A copycat protestalso broke out at the Saudi consulate in the Iranian city of Mashhad on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Jubeir said Riyadh is vigilant over Iranian threats against Saudi diplomats in Baghdad. On Friday, Saudi Arabia reopened its embassy in Baghdad after a 25-year pause, giving way to more cooperation between the two countries on tackling terrorism.

The foreign minister vowed that Riyadh will not allow Tehran to sabotage Saudi or the region’s security.

While Tehran lashed out at Riyadh for Nimr’s execution, the Gulf states, the Arab League, and the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars all condemned the attacks and Iranian interference in the region.

Taking Iran to task

Asked on whether Saudi Arabia plans on suing Iran at the United Nations for such violations, al-Jubeir said the country “is studying all options available, be them at the Arab League or the Organization of Islamic Countries or the United Nations.”

“We are going to spare no effort to guarantee our rights, and the future steps of the Kingdom… The objective is to protect the interests of the Kingdom, the Saudi people, its territories and provide support and assistance to the Kingdom's ally countries so that they would not be harmed by Iranian negative practices,” the foreign minister said.

Before Jubeir’s address, a Saudi foreign ministry spokesman said Iran had not stopped protesters storming its consulate in Mashhad.
The spokesman said Riyadh had reported the attacks on diplomatic missions in Iran to the U.N. Security Council.

After departing Iran, the Saudi diplomatic mission staff arrived in Dubai late on Sunday, the minister said.

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