Iran reveals true face by defending terror acts: KSA

Updated 05 January 2016
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Iran reveals true face by defending terror acts: KSA

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.

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World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

A Saudi woman and her friends celebrate her first time driving on a main street of Alkhobar city in eastern Saudi Arabia on her way to Bahrain on June 24, 2018. (AFP / HUSSAIN RADWAN)
Updated 25 June 2018
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World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

  • As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips
  • The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet 

JEDDAH: The world awoke on Sunday to images and video footage many thought they would never see — newly empowered Saudi women taking the wheel and driving their cars.

As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-time drivers.

The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet.

“I hope doing so on the day when women can drive on the roads in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shows what you can do if you have the passion and the spirit to dream,” she said.

In a tribute to Saudi female drivers, the Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji released a special video of a song she performed live in Riyadh at a concert last December “Today women in Saudi Arabia can legally drive their cars,” she said. “Congratulations on this achievement, this one’s for you!”

Back home in Saudi Arabia, the atmosphere was euphoric. “It’s a beautiful day,” businesswoman Samah Algosaibi said as she cruised around the city of Alkhobar. 

“Today we are here,” she said from the driver’s seat. “Yesterday we sat there,” she said, pointing to the back.

“I feel proud, I feel dignified and I feel liberated,” said Saudi Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena, one of the first women to drive in the Kingdom.

She told Arab News that the event was changing her life by “facilitating it, making it more comfortable, making it more pleasant, and making it more stress-free.”

Almaeena urged all drivers to follow the traffic and road safety rules. “What’s making me anxious is the misconduct of a lot of the drivers, the male drivers. Unfortunately they’re not as disciplined as they should be. Simple things such as changing lanes and using your signals — this is making me anxious.

“But I’m confident: I’ve driven all around the world when I travel, especially when I’m familiar with the area. It’s really mainly how to be a defensive driver because you have to be.”