More countries back Saudi Arabia in Iran dispute

Qatar recalls ambassador to Tehran as Jordan, Djibouti, and Turkey also express pro-Saudi positions.

    Smoke rises as Iranian protesters set fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran on Sunday [Mohammadreza Nadimi/ISNA via AP]
    Smoke rises as Iranian protesters set fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran on Sunday [Mohammadreza Nadimi/ISNA via AP]

    Qatar has become the latest country to back Saudi Arabia in its dispute with Iran, recalling its ambassador to Tehran on Wednesday in response to the attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions last weekend.  

    Jordan, Djibouti, and Turkey also expressed pro-Saudi positions on Wednesday after the embassy attacks in Iran that followed the execution of a renowned Shia leader in Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia.

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the execution of 47 men for terrorism charges in Saudi Arabia was "a domestic issue". One of those put to death was Shia Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr - a move that stirred sectarian anger across the region.

    "Forty-six of those who were executed are Sunni and they are executed because they are affiliated with al-Qaeda. One of them was a Shia religious leader. This decision was previously taken and Saudi Arabia implemented it. This is their decision," Erdogan said in a speech in the capital Ankara. 

    The president also said those who remained silent about the deaths of people in Syria's civil war were causing an uproar over the execution of one person in Saudi Arabia, apparently referring to Iran though he did not name names.


    EXPLAINER: World reaction to Iran-Saudi hostilities


    "You are giving your support [to the Syrian regime] either implicitly or openly. You are giving financial and weapons support to the murderer [President Bashar] Assad," Erdogan said. "The Saudi Arabian embassy [in Iran] was hit with rocket launchers. Its embassy in Iraq was also vandalised. This is not acceptable in terms of international relations."
    Meanwhile, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani asked the country's judiciary on Wednesday to urgently prosecute the people who attacked the Saudi missions.
    "By punishing the attackers and those who orchestrated this obvious offence, we should put an end once and forever to such damage and insults to Iran's dignity and national security," Rouhani was quoted as saying in a letter published on the state news agency IRNA.
    Djibouti cut diplomatic relations with Iran in response to the storming of the Saudi embassy. The tiny Horn of Africa nation joins Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Sudan in entirely severing relations with Shia Muslim Iran. 
    "Djibouti cut its diplomatic ties with Iran out of solidarity with Saudi Arabia," Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf told Reuters news agency in a text message.

    Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait have recalled their envoys to Iran.

    Meanwhile, Jordan summoned Iran's ambassador in Amman on Wednesday to condemn the embassy attack, and "Iranian interference" in Arab affairs, according to Jordanian state news agency Petra.

    Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy and other diplomatic posts early Sunday. Since the attacks, Iran says it has made arrests and has criticised the violent protesters. 

    Iran's top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, predicted "divine vengeance" for the execution of Nimr. 

     Allies back Saudi Arabia in showdown with Iran

    SOURCE: Agencies


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