RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday said Tehran revealed its true face “by its defense of terrorist acts” after Iran criticized the Kingdom’s execution of a Shiite radical convicted of terrorism charges.
In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the ministry accused Tehran of “blind sectarianism” and said Iran’s reaction only shows that it is a “partner in their crimes in the entire region.”
The ministry summoned Iran’s ambassador to the kingdom to protest Iran’s criticism of the execution, saying it represented “blatant interference” in Saudi Arabia’s internal affairs.
It also reminded Tehran of its obligation under international law to protect the Saudi diplomatic mission and citizens in Iran as Shiite fanatics rampaged outside the Saudi Embassy in the Iranian capital early Sunday.
Protesters threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the embassy, setting off a fire in part of the building, said the country’s top police official, Gen. Hossein Sajedinia, according to the semiofficial Tasnim news agency.
He later said police had removed the protesters from the building and arrested some of them, adding that the situation had been “defused.”
Hours later, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi said 40 people had been arrested on suspicion of taking part in the embassy attack and investigators were pursuing other suspects, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.
Iran’s top leader on Sunday warned spoke of “divine revenge” over the execution in Saudi Arabia of Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr, who was beheaded along with 47 others, including 45 for terrorism acts.
Also Sunday, the BBC reported that one of the 47 executed in Saudi Arabia,
One of those executed, Adel Al-Dhubaiti, was convicted over a 2004 attack on its journalists in Riyadh. That attack by a gang outside of the home of a suspected Al-Qaeda militant killed 36-year-old Irish cameraman Simon Cumbers. British reporter Frank Gardner, now the BBC’s security correspondent, was seriously wounded in the attack and paralyzed, but survived.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei defended Al-Nimr in a statement on his website, saying the Al-Nimr “neither invited people to take up arms nor hatched covert plots. The only thing he did was public criticism.”
Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard minced no words and called the execution a “medieval act of savagery.”
Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh said on Saturday that the executions were based on the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and Hadith. “It was required for integrity and stability, and in defense of peace, properties, sanctities and minds,” he said in a statement to Saudi television channel.
“This (execution) has served one of the several objectives for which Islam has come. These objectives include religion, life, sanctity, mind and wealth,” he said. The grand mufti said that implementation of the guidelines of Islam was necessary for the prevention of the mischief and chaos in their ranks.