Execution of Shiite preacher stirs situation up in Middle East
The recent execution of famous Shiite preacher Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, who was deprived of his life together with another 46 people, has raised a wave of protests in the Middle East. Allegedly, group of students who gathered near the Saudi embassy in the evening in Tehran in order to protest against the death of al-Nimr started throwing Molotov cocktails at the building. The protesters managed to enter the building and smash several rooms. They also attempted to set fire to the building, but they were unsuccessful.
The police later turned the protesters out of the diplomatic mission, however, according to media reports, they remained near the building.
Participants in the protests against the actions of Riyadh managed to set fire to several buildings in the Consulate of Saudi Arabia in the city of Mashhad. As a result, they were destroyed by fire the Saudi online newspaper Sabak reports.
At the same time, the Iranian Foreign Ministry urged not to organize protests near buildings of the Saudi diplomatic missions and not to gather there.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs understands the outrage of the Iranian Muslims and urges them to avoid various charges in front of the Saudi diplomatic buildings in Iran,’’ RIA Novosti cites official representative of the Iranian Foreign Minister Hussein Jaber Ansari.
"Diplomatic security is responsible for resisting any aggression against diplomatic facilities in Saudi Arabia, so it will act in accordance with its responsibilities for the establishment of public order and the restoration of security in such places," he underlined.
A number of world leaders expressed concern about the situation. Thus, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his deep concern in respect of the fact that the death penalty against al-Nimr and a number of other executions were declared during trials. They caused "great concern due to the nature of the charges and the impartiality of the process." The UN Secretary-General called for calm and restraint and urged "regional leaders to work in order to avoid aggravating sectarian tensions." Ban Ki-moon expressed regret over the fire in the Saudi Embassy in Tehran.
The US government addressed the authorities of Saudi Arabia. "The United States urges the Government of Saudi Arabia to stick to peaceful expression of dissent and work together with the leaders of all communities in order to reduce tensions in connection with the execution," State Department spokesman John Kirby said.
Federica Mogherini, the Foreign Service in the EU warned that the execution of the preacher may lead to serious consequences, pointing out that the EU does not support the death penalty "regardless of the circumstances."
Saudi Arabia was supported by Bahrain. "The Kingdom of Bahrain expressed its support for the measures taken by Saudi Arabia to resist violence and extremism," the Foreign Ministry said.