Egypt condemns attacks on Saudi Arabia Embassy and consulate in Iran
Written by Nourhan Fahmy
CAIRO, Jan 3 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt condemned Sunday the attacks in which the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and Saudi Consulate in the northeastern city of Meshhad were set ablaze as protesters stormed the premises and set their interior on fire in the early hours of Sunday.
The attacks came in response to the Saudi-sanctioned execution of 47 people for terrorism offences, including prominent opposition figure and Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Most of the executed were Sunnis convicted of involvement in terrorist attacks linked with al-Qaeda in the previous decade.
Iranian police said that “unruly elements” were arrested for attacking the embassy with petrol bombs and rocks, Reuters reported. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called for the prosecution of individuals responsible for the attacks.
Foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid reiterated the sanctity of the headquarters of diplomatic and consular missions and the safety of their employees, in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.
An Egyptian national by the name Mohammed Fathi Abula’ti Al-Sayed was among those executed by Saudi Arabia, according to the statement issued by the Saudi Interior Ministry. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s statement, however, did not mention the matter.
With the exception of Al-Sayed and another Chadian national, all those executed were Saudi nationals.
Tensions escalated between Saudi Arabia and Iran as both states exchanged strong statements and condemnations regarding the execution and its aftermath.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini described Sheikh Nimra as a “martyr” who acted peacefully, and warned Saudi Arabia of “divine revenge.”
A wave of protests followed news of the execution in Shia-majority countries across the Middle East , including Iran and Bahrain.
In Saudi Arabia’s Qatif region, protests erupted in rejection to al-Nimr’s prosecution, denouncing the rule of the Al-Saud dynasty.
In a statement on Saturday, the Saudi Interior Ministry stated that the executions were carried out in accordance with the law and the Islamic Shari’a, after sentences were endorsed by Appeal and Supreme Courts and a royal order was issued.
Human rights organisations including Amnesty International condemned the execution, labeling it as part of a systematic effort by the majority Sunni government to “crush Shia voices.”
On an international scale, the EU, US and UN expressed their concern regarding the executions, which they saw as a violation of civil and political rights.