Saudi Arabia has threatened Iran with Arab “opposition” amid tensions in Tehran-Riyadh ties following the execution of prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir accused Tehran of “interference” in the internal affairs of the monarchy after an Arab League emergency meeting, requested by Riyadh, was held in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Sunday.
Tensions between the two countries peaked after angry protesters gathered outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in the northeastern city of Mashhad, where a group of the demonstrators assaulted the diplomatic premises.
The Iranian government immediately condemned the move by the “rogue” group, whose members were arrested, further asserting that the incident does not diminish Riyadh’s accountability in Nimr’s execution.
After cutting diplomatic ties with Iran, Riyadh played the Arab League card which was reduced to an anti-Iran statement issued at the end of the meeting.
“Iran can live in the region as a neighbor if it stops these approaches … it will face opposition from the Arab world…this is the message we’ve got from the meeting,” Jubeir said after the meeting.
After the meeting, the 22-member body issued a joint statement to back Riyadh in the row with Tehran. The only member state refusing to follow suit was Lebanon.
This is while Saudi Arabia has long history of cracking down on Shia residents mostly residing in Eastern Province.
On January 2, the monarchy executed Nimr along with 46 other people in a move, which drew worldwide condemnation.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani censured the execution as well as the ensuing attacks on Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic buildings.