Iran expresses ‘regret’ over attacks on Saudi embassy

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Teheran’s UN envoy on Jan. 4 issues a statement of “regret” for the attacks on Saudi diplomatic facilities in Iran.

Gholamali Khoshroo, in a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said Iran “will take necessary measures to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents in the future.” Iranians protesting Saudi’s execution of outspoken Shi’ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr attacked the Saudi Embassy in Teheran and the Saudi Consulate in the city of Mashhad.

Firefighters battled a blaze at the Saudi Embassy in Teheran on Jan. 2.
Firefighters battled a blaze at the Saudi Embassy in Teheran on Jan. 2.

In the wake of the attacks, Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran. Saudi allies Bahrain and Sudan also cut ties to Teheran and UAE downgraded its diplomatic presence in Iran.

Khoshroo said more than 40 people who attacked the Saudi embassy in Teheran have been arrested and handed over to judicial authorities.

Nimr led protests that broke out in 2011 in Saudi’s Eastern Province, where the Shi’ite minority has long complained of marginalization by the ruling family. He was arrested in 2012 as an “instigator of sedition.”

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Jan. 3 vowed “the hand of God will take vengeance against Saudi leaders” for Nimr’s execution. In an address on Iranian national TV, Khamenei said that “for the unjust spilling of blood of this holy man, who suffered and was downtrodden, there will no doubt be heavenly vengeance taken upon Saudi politicians.”

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said UN chief Ban called for all political and religious leaders in the region “to avoid adding fuel to the fire.”

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