The Iranian government and religious leaders across the Middle East have condemned Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shia cleric and warned of repercussions that could bring down the country’s royal family.
In a serious escalation of religious and diplomatic tensions in the region, councils and clerics in Iran, Yemen and Lebanon said the killing of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr would prompt widespread anger.
Execution of Shia cleric sparks international outrage – as it happened
Follow the latest updates as religious leaders and councils warn of repercussions for killing of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Hossein Jaber Ansari, accused Riyadh of hypocrisy. “The Saudi government supports terrorists and takfiri [radical Sunni] extremists, while executing and suppressing critics inside the country,” he told the Iranian state news agency.
In Bahrain, police fired teargas at several dozen people protesting against the cleric’s execution, a witness said. Demonstrators carrying pictures of Nimr faced security forces in a standoff in Abu-Saiba, a Shia village west of the capital, Manama.
Activists have called for protests in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, a sign that Nimr’s death may further inflame sectarian tensions in the Middle East.
The execution was described as a “grave mistake” by the Supreme Islamic Shia Council in Lebanon and a “flagrant violation of human rights” by Yemen’s Houthi movement.
Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a leading Iranian cleric, said repercussions would bring down the Saudi ruling family.
He told the Mehr news agency: “I have no doubt that this pure blood will stain the collar of the House of Saud and wipe them from the pages of history. The crime of executing Sheikh Nimr is part of a criminal pattern by this treacherous family … the Islamic world is expected to cry out and denounce this infamous regime as much as it can.”
Saudi Arabia: beheadings reach highest level in two decades
Nimr was one of 47 people Saudi Arabian executed for terrorism on Friday. The interior ministry said most of those killed were involved in a series of al-Qaida attacks between 2003 and 2006.
It also detained hundreds of minority Shia Muslims after protests between 2011 and 2013, during which several police officers were killed in shootings and petrol bomb attacks. Several of those held were sentenced to death.
admin uploaded a new media, Ayatollah Nimr was murdered today by the Saudi Government
3 years ago