Iran summons Saudi envoy over execution of Shi’ite cleric

Tehran, Jan 3 (IANS) Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned Saudi Arabian charge d’affaires to Tehran on Saturday to protest the execution of prominent Shi’ite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian conveyed the strong protest of Islamic republic to the Saudi envoy, Ahmed al-Muwallid, over what he called the “irresponsible behavior” of the Saudi officials in this regard, according to the state TV.

“Saudi Arabia is the main defendant of the terrorism and extremism in the region,” Amir-Abdollahian said, warning against the violation of human rights and the suppress of minorities in the Arab kingdom.

Earlier on Saturday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the execution.

“While the Saudi government supports extremists and terrorist groups, it cracks down on and executes its dissidents,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari said.

The Saudi government should await the repercussions of such acts, “as they will pay clearly for their policies,” he said.

Saudi Interior Ministry announced on Saturday the execution of 47 people on terrorist charges, including the dissident Shi’ite leader.

Most of the executed were Saudis and involved in a series of attacks carried out by al-Qaida from 2003-06.

Nimr al-Nimr was also a driving force behind anti-government protests that broke out in 2011.

Bahrain endorsed Riyadh’s executions on Saturday, saying it backed “security measures” taken by Saudi Arabia in its fight against terrorism.

The country’s Interior Ministry said legal actions will be taken against anyone attempting to use the executions to heighten sectarian tensions or to incite violence.

“A punishment of imprisonment of no more than two years or a fine of no more than $530 shall be inflicted upon any person who takes “negative” actions in response to the death sentences,” warned the ministry in a statement.

Bahrain’s Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa also lauded the stances of Saudi Arabia, saying that “Saudi Arabia’s efforts to confront whoever seeks to undermine Saudi’ security and stability are widely appreciated across the Arab and Islamic worlds.”

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