Earlier on Wednesday Djibouti cut ties with Iran and Jordan summoned Iran’s envoy in Amman to condemn Sunday’s attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran by protesters angered at the execution of cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Iran’s state-run news agency IRNA says a Saudi-led air strike last night hit the Iranian embassy in Yemen. Longstanding tensions between Iran, the dominant Shiite Muslim power in the Middle East, and Saudi Arabia, its Sunni rival, erupted into a full-blown row Saturday when Riyadh executed cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
Saudi Arabia’s soccer federation has said its clubs will not play Asian Champions League matches in Iran amid rising diplomatic tension. Since Saudi Arabia severed ties to Iran, a host of its allies have cut or reduced their ties as well. It comes days after Saudi Arabia broke off diplomatic ties with Iran in response to an arson attack on its own embassy in Tehran by protesters infuriated by Riyadh’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric.
A Somali Foreign Ministry statement issued on Thursday accused Iran of trying to destabilize the Horn of Africa nation. However, those living in the area remain on edge as recent nights have been broken up by gunfire. At the same time, the United Arab Emirates has downgraded relations with Iran, while Kuwait and Qatar have recalled their ambassadors.
On Thursday, the AP reporter said the embassy was still standing without any visible damage. Iran and Saudi Arabia also support opposing sides in Syria. Human Rights Watch condemned the executions and said that the charges against Nimr were vague and “apparently based largely on his peaceful criticism of Saudi officials”. More than 5,700 people have died, almost half of which civilians, since a pro-government coalition led by Saudi Arabia began a military campaign against Houthi rebels in March after the rebels seized the city of Sanaa and began to advance to Aden. Still, it remained uncertain whether Saudi Arabia would even accept the outreach. Games involving Saudi and Iranian teams are now scheduled in January and February. Even within Iraq, there could be backlash to attempts to work with Saudi Arabia.