Clinton says Saudi Arabian executions raise 'serious questions'

Saudi Arabia's position toward Iran is that "enough is enough", a source familiar with the Saudi government's thinking said on Sunday after protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran over the execution of a Shi'ite Muslim cleric and Riyadh cut diplomatic ties with Tehran.

They also warned that the new strain between Riyadh and Tehran, sparked off by Saudi Arabia's execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr Saturday on charges of terrorism and sectarian incitement, would send Sunni-Shiite tensions soaring to an alarming level, threatening to further destabilize the volatile region.

"We're aware of reports that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has ordered the closure of Iranian diplomatic missions in the Kingdom", an Obama administration official said.

Later that night, in predominantly Shia Iran, Molotov cocktails smashed into the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

Hours later, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi said 40 people had been arrested on suspicion of taking part in the embassy attack and investigators were pursuing other suspects, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.

- King Fahd congratulated Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on his election victory in 2001, saying it was an endorsement of his reformist policy. "The ambassador has been summoned to notify them", he said.

Kashmiri Shiite Muslim protestors take cover as a tear smoke shell explodes during a protest against Saudi Arabia in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. The two countries sealed better relations with a security pact in April 2001. The Guard said in a statement that Saudi Arabia's "medieval act of savagery" in putting al-Nimir death will lead to the "downfall" of the monarchy.

"Every time Iran does something, the United States backs off", the person said.

"We would request our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the government to seriously take steps to stop the Saudi regime from doing such executions in future and stop promoting terrorism around the globe", he said, after accusing the kingdom of supporting groups like ISIS.

The State Department also urged the Saudi government to "respect and protect human rights, and to ensure fair and transparent judicial proceedings in all cases", as well as to permit peaceful expression of dissent and work with all community leaders to defuse tensions.

In Beirut, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called Sheikh al-Nimr "the martyr, the holy warrior", while demonstrators marched in Turkey, India and Pakistan.

Al-Nimr was a central figure in Arab Spring-inspired protests by Saudi Arabia's Shiite minority until his arrest in 2012.

In Iraq, a Shia icon directed followers to protest in front of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Baghdad.

The Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement that by condemning the execution, Iran had "revealed its true face represented in support for terrorism". On Saturday there were public calls for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to shut the embassy down again.

On Sunday, Al-Nimr's brother, Mohammed al-Nimr, called for the cleric's supporters to protest against his execution and to do so peacefully.

Imad Salamey, political science professor at the Lebanese American University, begged to differ, saying he did not expect the Saudi-Iranian tension to exacerbate tensions in the region, or leave any adverse impact on the situation in Lebanon, particularly the presidential issue.

Jane Kinninmont, of the Chatham House think tank in London, said the execution "reflects a hard line on internal criticism and is not simply a reflection of regional politics" as Nimr was a "vocal and passionate critic of the royal family".

France said on Sunday it deeply deplored the mass execution and said it reiterated its opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances.

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