U.S. urges Middle East leaders to ‘calm tensions’
Leaders urged to take measures to soothe tensions in the region after Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran
The United States on Sunday urged Mideast leaders to take measures to soothe tensions in the region after Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran following an attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran.
The attack was prompted by Saudi Arabia's execution of Shiite preacher Nimr al-Nimr, provoking outrage from Iran.
"We're aware that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has ordered the closure of Iranian diplomatic missions in the kingdom," U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said about the diplomatic rift.
"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 diplomatic fallout come as Iran's supreme leader condemned Saturday's execution of Nimr al-Nimr, and as Western nations voiced concern about escalating sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shiite Muslims.
Nimr, 56, was a force behind 2011 anti-government protests in oil-rich eastern Saudi Arabia.
He was put to death along with 46 other people, including convicted Sunni militants who the Saudi interior ministry says were involved in al-Qaeda attacks that killed dozens in 2003 and 2006.
After his execution, a mob attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran and a consulate in second city Mashhad.
Saudi authorities said they had asked their Iranian officials to ensure security at the embassy, but Tehran failed to protect it.
Saudi: ‘Iran is last country to talk about terrorism’Saudi Arabia accused 'shameless' Iran of sponsoring terrorism and undermining regional stability amid a diplomatic spat Middle East
Gulf states back Saudi in its fight against ‘terrorism’The six-member regional bloc said the GCC ‘stands side by side’ with Riyadh, holding Iran as responsible Middle East
Saudi cuts ties with Iran, expels Tehran envoysSaudi’s foreign minister said Iran’s diplomatic mission and related entities in Saudi Arabia had been given 48 hours to leave Middle East
Saudi Council of Senior Scholars condemns Iranian remarksThe execution of Nimr was criticized by Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a prominent Iranian cleric Middle East
Why did Saudi execute Nimr al-Nimr?While the statements of Iran and the protest around it after executing terrorists in Saudi Arabia including Nimr al-Nimr continue, the facts on the ... Reports
UAE summons Iranian ambassador after Saudi embassy attackUAE gave Iran’s ambassador the UAE a written protest note over Tehran’s ‘intervention in the sovereign affairs of Saudi Arabia’ Middle East
Saudi executions: Who were Nimr al-Nimr and Faris al-Shuwail?Both were among the 47 men executed on terrorism charges, the Saudi interior ministry said Features
Saudi embassy in Tehran attacked by protestersImages shared on social media appeared to show Iranian protesters breaking into the Saudi embassy and starting fires Middle East
Footage shows protester attack on Saudi embassy in TehranSaudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad were attacked by Iranian protesters early Sunday following the execution of a Saudi ... Reports
Saudi Arabia executes 47 terrorism convictsMost of those executed were involved in a series of attacks carried out by al-Qaeda from 2003-06, the interior ministry said Middle East