Relations between Riyadh and Tehran soured last week when Iran condemned Saudi Arabia’s execution of dissident Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, a fiery critic of the kingdom’s Sunni authorities. Saudi Arabia must be held accountable for the act of aggression against the Iranian mission in Yemen, Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said on Sunday.
The SPA report concluded, “The GCC Ministerial Council urged the global community to take necessary measures to compel Iran to respect the principle of good neighborliness, to stop its activities destabilizing the region, to stop its support for terrorism, to not interfere in the internal affairs of the GCC countries and the region’s countries, and to not use or threaten to use force”. I would also ask for your indulgence to brief you about the unfortunate developments between Iran and Saudi Arabia that have unfolded in the past few days.
“At the beginning of the Arab Spring, 2010-11, he had rallied Shiite crowds that demonstrated in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia – that’s the oil province – 15 percent of Saudis are Shiites”. But he instead preferred to point to the fact that Iran “executes far more people than Saudi Arabia does”, and said: “Let us be clear, first of all, that these people were convicted terrorists”.
Regional instability stemming from the diplomatic crisis will threaten these efforts, leading to prolonged power struggles that make it harder for companies to evaluate the risks of investing in Iran, Richard Mallinson of Energy Aspects said by phone from London. Around 1,000 protestors marched through Tehran chanting “death to Al-Saud” – Riyadh’s ruling family, according to an AFP photographer. Saudi Arabian and Iranian food groups trading in each other’s countries may face problems in the coming weeks as tensions between the two countries intensify.
In response to the Iran incidents, Riyadh and Bahrain, which has a Shiite majority, severed diplomatic relations with Tehran. However, it will also be disingenuous to paint all these protests, especially the ones against Saudi machinations, as simply motivated by sectarian sentiments.
The protests come after Iran claimed Thursday that a Saudi-led airstrike the previous night had hit the Iranian Embassy in Sanaa, citing Iran’s Foreign Ministry. Tehran is providing military assistance to close ally President Bashar al-Assad against rebel groups, some backed by Saudi Arabia.
Bagherian said Saudi’s decision was illogical and illegitimate, adding that his country was going to reject Saudi’s offer to hold the matches in other Gulf States.