Kuwait Recalls Its Ambassador From Iran

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Kuwait has recalled its ambassador from Iran as the regional row over the execution of a Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia deepens.

Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran was stormed and set alight by angry protesters  on Saturday, following the execution of Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others.

Saudi Arabia broke off diplomatic ties with Iran in response, followed by its allies Bahrain and Sudan.

The BBC reports: Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran are major rivals for power in the Middle East and back opposing sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

Saudi insists peace efforts should not be affected by the dispute but has criticised Iran’s contribution to the process.

Iran has reiterated its condemnation of Saudi Arabia, with President Hassan Rouhani saying it cannot “hide its crime of beheading a religious leader by severing political relations with Iran”.

The Kuwaiti government said it was recalling its ambassador from the Iranian capital, describing the attacks as a “flagrant breach of international norms”.

It did not expel Tehran’s ambassador or downgrade diplomatic ties.

Saudi Arabia’s unexpected decision to carry out the executions – following convictions over terror offences – prompted an expression of “deep dismay” from the UN secretary general, while the US accused Saudi of exacerbating tensions “at a time when they urgently need to be reduced”.

But since then, Saudi Arabia has gained support from some allies in its response to the attacks on its missions in Tehran and the Iranian city of Mashhad.

Some of the smaller Gulf Arab states have good working relationships with Iran, and two of them, Oman and Qatar, have yet to take any action. Oman criticized the Saudi move to sever all diplomatic relations with Iran, saying the decision risks escalating tensions in an already volatile region.

Niamh Harris
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