Iran accuses Saudis of attacking Yemen embassy

USA Today

Iran on Thursday accused Saudi Arabia of deliberately launching an air strike on its embassy in Yemen’s capital Sanaa.

The state-run IRNA news agency reported that a number of guards at the embassy were injured, and part of the building’s wall was damaged in the strike by Saudi warplanes on Wednesday night.  

The accusation came after Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran after protesters set fires at the Saudi embassy in Tehran following the execution of a Shiite cleric by the Saudis.

Sanaa and other parts of Yemen are under the control of Shiite rebels known as Houthis, who are backed by Iran.

Saudi allies Bahrain and Sudan also said they were severing diplomatic ties with Iran this week and the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have scaled back diplomatic ties with the country.

Speaking Thursday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaber-Ansari said: “The intentional act of the Saudi government was a violation of all international conventions and regulations about protecting the security and safety of diplomatic missions in all situations,’ IRNA reported.

“The Saudi government is responsible for the measure and also for compensating losses inflicted on both the building and the injured embassy guards,” he added. ‘It goes without saying that the Islamic Republic of Iran reserves the rights to pursue the issue through legal channels.”

Reuters reported that a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen said it was investigating Iran’s claim.

Iran banned the import of goods from Saudi Arabia, Iranian state TV reported Thursday, according to the Associated Press. Annual imports from Saudi Arabia — mainly packing materials and textiles — total about $60 million a year.

Iranian protesters set fires at the Saudi embassy in Tehran following the execution of Sheik Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shiite cleric whose death sparked an outcry across much of the Shiite Muslim world.

Al-Nimr, a Saudi and beloved cleric among Shiite Muslims who made his mark during the Arab Spring protests, was among 47 people executed Saturday by Sunni-led Saudi Arabia. Most of those killed were Sunnis linked to al-Qaeda attacks in the kingdom.

The Saudis say al-Nimr, among four Shiites who were executed, was being encouraged by Iran to foment unrest. He was accused of “seeking foreign meddling” and taking up arms against Saudi Arabia.

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