Tehran Deplores Saudi Hasty Decisions

Tehran Deplores Saudi Hasty Decisions Tehran Deplores Saudi Hasty Decisions

Saudi Arabia's decision to sever diplomatic relations with Iran is an attempt to deflect attention from the Arab monarchy's "great error" of executing prominent Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a deputy foreign minister said.

"The Saudi decision to cut ties with Tehran cannot cover up its great error of executing a religious scholar," Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was quoted as saying by IRNA on Sunday.

"Saudi Arabia has fueled regional insecurity by making such strategic mistakes through adoption of hasty decisions," the senior diplomat added.   

Earlier in the day, the kingdom's foreign minister announced the breakoff, after demonstrators stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad.

Protestors were enraged by the execution of Sheikh Nimr on Saturday along with three other Shias, convicted of alleged involvement in shooting the Saudi police, and 43 Sunnis linked to Al-Qaeda attacks a decade ago.

Adel al-Jubeir said Iran's diplomatic mission and related entities in Saudi Arabia had been given 48 hours to leave.

"The kingdom … announces the cutting of diplomatic relations with Iran and requests the departure of delegates of diplomatic missions of the embassy and consulate and offices related to it within 48 hours. The ambassador has been summoned to notify them," he told a news conference in Riyadh, Reuters reported.

President Hassan Rouhani had earlier issued a statement, criticizing the protesters' move as "absolutely unjustifiable," and "a blow to the reputation of the Islamic Republic of Iran".

He stressed that the government is obliged to ensure the safety of foreign missions, calling for a "decisive response" by the relevant authorities.

"The Interior Ministry is tasked with investigating the event resolutely in cooperation with the judiciary and the Intelligence Ministry to identify the attackers and bring them to justice."

Rouhani denounced the Saudi execution of the leading preacher as a "blatant breach of human rights and Islamic values".

"[The move] is in line with the same sectarian policies and terrorism and extremism in the region and the world, which have led to regional destabilization, war and conflict in recent years."

***Unwise Act

Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, chairman of the Expediency Council, condemned the cleric's execution as an "unwise" act, noting that Saudi authorities had been repeatedly warned that Sheikh Nimr enjoyed considerable popularity among the general public.

On the embassy incident, he said such "extremist" actions would only escalate regional tensions.

"Every problem has a logical and appropriate solution. Extremist moves such as attacking and damaging diplomatic premises and the use of violence complicate the situation and exacerbate tensions," he said.

In another development, the first vice president reprimanded Saudis for their "impulsive" and "illogical" decision to sever ties with Iran.

"It is you who will suffer from the severing of bilateral relations… Stop such impulsive and illogical acts," Es'haq Jahangiri said on Monday.

On Monday, Bahrain and Sudan followed Saudi Arabia and cut diplomatic ties with Iran, and the UAE downgraded relations to the level of charge d'affaires.