RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Sunday officially severed ties with Iran over the storming of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, following the execution of Saudi Shiite radical Nimr Al-Nimr.
Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told a news conference Iran’s diplomatic mission and related entities in Saudi Arabia had been given 48 hours to leave. He said Riyadh would not allow Tehran to undermine the Kingdom’s security.
He added that all Saudi diplomats and staff have arrived in the UAE from Iran and are on their way to the Kingdom. He called Tehran a regional menace for its smuggling of arms and explosives and its previous harboring of Al-Qaeda militants.
In Tehran, angry crowds hurled Molotov cocktails and stormed the Embassy. Fires were seen burning inside the building. He said the aggressive statements of the Iranian regime encouraged the attacks on Saudi missions, adding that Iran has a history of supporting terrorism, citing its support to the bloody regime of Bashar Assad.
Al-Jubeir said the Kingdom rejects all criticism of the Saudi justice system. He called on the international community to review Iranian intransigence, stressing that “all options are open for us to deter Iran.”
He added that each Gulf country will decide what measures to be taken to contain Iran. In response to a reporter’s question Al-Jubeir said the Iranian government is involved in the attacks on the Saudi Embassy, adding that Iranian security were present at the scene yet they never attempted to drive out the protesters.
“In Iraq, we have received assurances from the Iraqi government that it will ensure the safety of our embassy and our diplomats in Baghdad,” Al-Jubeir said. Earlier, a ministry spokesman accused Iran of sponsoring terror and undermining regional stability.
“The Iranian regime is the last regime in the world that could accuse others of supporting terrorism, considering that (Iran) is a state that sponsors terror, and is condemned by the UN and many countries,” he said in a statement to SPA.
“Iran’s regime has no shame as it rants on human rights matters, even after it executed hundreds of Iranians last year without a clear legal basis,” said the statement.
“Iran’s criticism of the execution of terrorists and its hostile statements are blatant interference in the Kingdom’s internal affairs,” said the statement.
Iran has offered “many Al-Qaeda leaderships safe haven since 2001” in addition to “offering an Iranian passport” to a Saudi suspect involved in 1996 bombings in the Kingdom who was arrested last year, the ministry said.
It criticized Iran’s “flagrant interference in regional countries, including Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon, as well as Syria where it has directly intervened through its Revolutionary Guard and Shiite militia” causing the deaths of tens of thousands of Syrians.
Al-Jubeir postponed his visit to Pakistan Sunday and preferred to stay back to assess the situation and answer those who are siding with terrorists.
A statement to Arab News by the Pakistani side said Al-Jubeir, who was due in Islamabad for talks with top-ranking Pakistani officials on Sunday, will now visit Pakistan on Jan. 7.