Facing growing international condemnation for their weekend executions, Saudi Arabia is trying to turn the tables and make the whole situation about Iran, and is courting its usual list of allies to cut diplomatic relations with Tehran.
Sudan was the first to follow through, condemning Iran’s “barbaric attacks” after protesters burned the Saudi embassy, and cutting all diplomatic ties. Bahrain, still clamping down on its own Shi’ite majority while blaming Iran for protesters demanding equal rights, was quick to follow suit. Bahrain insisted that Iran was “interfering” in Saudi policy by being unhappy with the execution of a cleric for the content of his sermons.
The United Arab Emirates also reduced ties, lowering its representation in Iran to a charges d’affairs, and says it is planning to reduce the number of Iranian diplomats allowed in the country.
Iran criticized the Saudi effort to increase sectarian tensions in the region, saying Iran wasn’t to blame for the embassy attack, and had arrested 50 of the demonstrators in keeping with their obligation to keep the embassies secure.