Arab League to hold emergency talks on Iran-Saudi row

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Khartoum announced that it was expelling its Iranian ambassador, while the UAE recalled its own ambassador to Iran and called for a reduction in the size of Tehran’s diplomatic corps in the Emirates. Somalia also issued a statement criticizing Iran. In his sermons, al-Nimr was critical of Sunni and Shiite autocratic rulers alike, though he reserved some of his most scathing attacks for the Saudi and Bahraini royal families.

“From our side it should have no effect because we will continue to work very hard to support the peace efforts in Syria, in Yemen”, he told reporters.

Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr burn an effigy of King… The Shi’ite cleric was executed along with three other Shi’ites convicted on counts of terrorism.

On Monday, Bahrain and Sudan cut all ties with Iran, following Riyadh’s example.

Bahrain, which is ruled by a Sunni monarchy but has a majority Shia population, gave Iranian diplomats 48 hours to leave the country.

Sudan, which has been looking to Saudi for aid since the secession of oil-rich South Sudan in 2011, on Monday announced an “immediate severing of ties” over the diplomatic mission attacks.

The sudden spike in tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran, two of the most powerful regimes in the Middle East, is only going to exacerbate a trend toward high levels of oil production, says one expert on global oil markets.

The UAE, a country of seven emirates, has a long trading history with Iran and is home to many ethnic Iranians. Saudi Arabia is at the heart of a Sunni Arab nexus that organizes along shared religious, political and economic interests and it comes as no surprise that the kingdom’s Sunni allies have promptly tendered their support against Iran.

Flames rise from Saudi Arabia’s embassy during a demonstration in Tehran January 2, 2016.

The move was likely to affect the annual hajj pilgrimage.

Sunni Islam has gone on to dominate the faith – almost 90% of the world’s Muslims are Sunnis – including the Wahhabi branch practiced in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Arabian Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Cairo’s Al-Azhar have panned the aggression against Riyadh’s operations and have issued directives to Iran, warning Tehran not to interfere in the domestic affairs of Saudi Arabia.

Yet if the White House opts for a balanced approach, Saudi Arabia could take it as an insult, feeling its close relationship with Washington is being sacrificed as part of US outreach to Iran.

“If they’re not talking, if they’re fighting through proxies in places like Syria and Yemen – and they are – it means over the next several months we should expect to see more violence, more dead, more refugees coming from Syria”, Burns said.

European countries and regional power Turkey voiced concerns over the row, while US Secretary of State John Kerry called his Iranian and Saudi counterparts and Moscow offered to act as an intermediary.

Earlier Sunday, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini spoke to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif by phone and urged Tehran to “defuse the tensions and protect the Saudi diplomats”, according to a statement.

Saudi Arabia has been instrumental in bringing together Syria’s political and armed opposition groups that would participate in peace talks with Assad’s government. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Reuters Riyadh would also halt air traffic and commercial relations between the rival powers.

Nimr was sentenced to death in a closed trial on charges such as being disloyal to the ruling family, using violence and seeking foreign meddling. Al-Nimr also shot at security forces and was eventually taken into custody and transported to a hospital, the news service said.

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