Iranian protesters storm Saudi embassy

Iranian protesters storm Saudi embassy


Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran early on Sunday morning as Shia Muslim Iran reacted with fury to Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shia cleric.Demonstrators who had massed at the embassy gates to protest at Nimr al-Nimr’s execution broke into the embassy and started fires before being cleared away by the police, Iran’s ISNA news agency reported. Pictures were tweeted that showed parts of the interior on fire and smashed furniture inside one office.Shortly afterwards, Iran’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling for calm and urging protesters to respect the diplomatic premises, the Entekhab news website reported.Iran’s hardline Revolutionary Guards had promised “harsh revenge” against the Saudi Sunni royal dynasty for Saturday’s execution of Nimr, considered a terrorist by Riyadh but hailed in Iran as a champion of the rights of Saudi Arabia’s marginalised Shia minority.Nimr, the most vocal critic of the dynasty among the Shia minority, had come to be seen as a leader of the sect’s younger activists, who had tired of the failure of older, more measured leaders to achieve equality with Sunnis.Although most of the 47 men killed in the kingdom’s biggest mass execution for decades were Sunnis convicted of al Qaeda attacks in Saudi Arabia a decade ago, it was Nimr and three other Shia, all accused of involvement in shooting police, who attracted most attention in the region and beyond.

The move appeared to end any hopes that the appearance of a common enemy in the form of the Islamic State militant force would produce some rapprochement between the region’s leading Sunni and Shia Muslim powers, who back opposing sides in wars currently raging in Syria and Yemen.The website of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, carried a picture of a Saudi executioner next to notorious Islamic State executioner ‘Jihadi John’, with the caption “Any differences?”, and Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards said “harsh revenge” would topple “this pro-terrorist, anti-Islamic regime”.Saudi Arabia summoned the Iranian ambassador, only to see its embassy stormed soon afterwards.


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