Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has condemned the two attacks on Saudi Arabian diplomatic premises in Iran as “unacceptable.”
During a visit to Riyadh, which saw Egypt and Saudi Arabia sign a fresh economic agreement, Shoukry denounced Iran’s “intervention” in Saudi Arabia’s internal affairs, adding that Egypt would continue to support the Kingdom.
The Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran and the Saudi consulate in Mashhad had been stormed and set on fire by protesters after the execution of 47 people, including influential Shiite Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr.
In statements shortly following the attacks, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry reiterated the importance of ensuring the safety of diplomatic and consular missions, as upheld in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.
The Egyptian Foreign Minister’s comments come after a number of Gulf countries strongly condemned recent “Iranian intervention”.
On January 3, Saudi Arabia announced the the severing of diplomatic ties with Iran. Bahrain and Sudan similarly expelled Iranian diplomats from the country and cut off diplomatic ties. Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates downgraded the status of all Iranian diplomats in the country.
Earlier in the day, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Arab League expressed support for Saudi Arabia’s fight against terrorism and condemned the attacks on Saudi diplomatic premises.
Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran flared after Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry announced the execution of 47 people, including influential Shiite Sheikh Al-Nimr.
Protests against Saudi Arabia’s actions erupted in Yemen, Pakistan, Bahrain, and Iraq. In Lebanon, Hezbollah said the execution of Sheikh Al-Nimr was an “assassination” and called the move a “grave mistake”.
Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah movement, accused Saudi Arabia of seeking to ignite a civil war in the region and warned that the blood of Sheikh Al-Nimr would “plague the Al-Saud [ruling family] until the Day of Judgement”.
In Tehran, large groups of protesters stormed and torched part of the Saudi Arabian embassy, with police intervening hours later. Elsewhere in Iran, the Saudi Consulate in the the city of Mashhad was also attacked by a group connected to Iran’s Elite Revolutionary Guards.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani condemned the attack on the Saudi Arabian embassy and ordered the arrest and prosecution of all those involved.
However, hours after Iran’s President’s statements, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that Saudi Arabia would face “divine revenge” for the execution of Sheikh Al-Nimr, calling Al-Nimr a “martyr”. Reports indicate Iran also changed the name of the street on which the Saudi embassy is located to “Sheikh Al-Nimr”.
Saudi Arabia and Iran have been engaged in a proxy war in Syria and Yemen, supporting opposing sides. The two countries have also had strained ties over Iran’s nuclear program, with Saudi Arabia denouncing the United States’ deal with Tehran earlier in 2015.