Sudan and Bahrain joined Saudi Arabia and cut all diplomatic ties with Iran a day after Riyadh gave Iranian diplomats 48 hours to leave the country amid diplomatic tensions over the execution of Saudi prominent Shi’a figure.
The statement of the Bahraini government urged the Iranian diplomats to leave the country in two days, explaining that the reason for the immediate expulsion was the continuation of Iran’s intervention in Arab issues.
Following Bahrain’s decision, the Republic of Sudan also announced the expulsion of the Iranian ambassador in Khartoum. Sudan’s Presidential Administration Tah Usman Al-Hussein notified the Deputy Crown Prince and Defence Minister of Saudi Arabia Muhammad bin Salman that Sudan would also recall its diplomatic envoy to Tehran.
The UAE has also decided to reduce its diplomatic mission to Tehran, without cutting ties completely, according to the UAE’s official news agency WAM.
Saudi Arabia cut all diplomatic ties with Iran Sunday after Iranian protesters broke into its embassy in Tehran amid diplomatic tension between the countries over the Saudi execution of Nimr Al-Nimr.
“Iran has a history filled with attacks on its foreign embassies and diplomatic missions without taking any action to prevent them and instead assisting further attacks through provocative statements,” Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubair said in a press conference in Riyadh Sunday.
Iranian protesters broke into the Saudi embassy in Tehran and the consulate in Mashhad and set fire to diplomatic buildings. Supreme Iranian leader Ali Khamenei warned Iran of “divine revenge” after the kingdom executed Al-Nimr.
Saudi owned Al-Arabia TV reported that Saudi diplomats arrived in Dubai from Iran after being evacuated. The Iranian foreign ministry said Monday that Saudi Arabia used the attacks on its embassy as a pretext to escalate tensions and that Tehran is committed to protect all foreign diplomatic missions.
“Iran is committed to providing security to all diplomatic missions on the basis of the international agreements but Saudi Arabia took advance and escalated tensions,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hussein Jabry Ansary said.
The US encouraged diplomatic communication between Saudi Arabia and Iran to ease mounting tension. Russia stated its willingness to mediate between both countries to help find a solution to east the diplomatic tension.
“We are ready, as friends, to mediate if they ask us to do this,” local Russian news agency quoted an anonymous Russian official source as saying.
International powers raised concerns about the Iranian-Saudi tensions urging both sides to find a diplomatic solution and deescalate tensions. China expressed its concerns Monday of a regional conflict after Saudi Arabic decided to cut diplomatic ties with Iran.
“Like the international community, China is highly concerned about the developments and expresses concern that the relevant event may intensify conflict in the region,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a news briefing, referring to the recent escalation in tension. She said all sides must respect the diplomatic missions.
“We hope the relevant parties can maintain calm and restraint, properly resolve their differences through dialogue and consultation, and jointly safeguard regional peace and stability,” she said. China depends on countries in the Middle East for oil supplies but it tends not to interfere with Middle East politics.
Germany urged both sides Monday to improve their relations. The spokesperson of the German foreign ministry Martin Schaefer said Berlin is not willing to impose any sanctions on Saudi Arabia because of the executions.
Iraqi police said at least two Sunni mosques were attacked in the Sunni province of Al-Hella since it seems to be a reaction to the execution of Al-Nimr.
Saudi Arabia and Iran are widely reported to be supporting factional sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. While Saudi Arabia supports Yemeni President Hadi Mansour, Iran supports the Houthis who seized large areas in Yemen including the capital Sanaa.
In Syria, Iran supports the regime of Syrian Preisdent Bashar Al-Assad against all other factional groups while Riyadh supports what it calls the “moderate opposition”.
In 2011, Saudi Arabia interfered in Bahrain to help Manama to control Shi’a protests. In the same year, US officials claimed that there was an Iranian plan to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington.
In 1987, 402 Iranian Haj goes died in clashes in Mecca and angry Iranian protestors occupied the Saudi embassy in Tehran.
The trade volume between the two countries is estimated to be $500m dollars. However, the trade volume between the UAE and Iran is approximately $17bn.