Kuwait recalls envoy to Iran after attacks on Saudi missions

The United Nations Security Council also strongly condemned the attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran by protesters angered by the execution of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr Al Nimr.

Iranian protestors set fire to the Saudi Arabia embassy in Tehran on January 2, 2016 in reaction to the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric Nimr Al Nimr. Mohammad Reza Nadimi / EPA
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KUWAIT CITY // Kuwait became the latest Gulf state to recall its ambassador from Iran on Tuesday in protest against attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in the Islamic republic.

The attacks “represent a flagrant breach of international agreements and norms and a grave violation of Iran’s international commitments for the security of diplomatic missions and the safety of diplomats”, the foreign ministry said, according to the official Kuna news agency.

Hours later, Bahrain said it was stopping all flights to and from Iran, a day after Riyadh announced the same.

The diplomatic crisis began on Saturday when protesters angered by Riyadh’s execution of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr Al Nimr ransacked and set fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran and the consulate in Mashhad.

A day later, Saudi Arabia cut all diplomatic ties with Iran. Bahrain and Sudan followed suit on Monday, while the UAE recalled its ambassador.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) said on Tuesay it would hold an extraordinary meeting in Riyadh on Saturday to discuss “the repercussions” of the diplomatic mission attacks.

Also on Tuesday, Turkey said it was ready to do everything it could to help calm tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“We expect all countries in the region to show common sense and take steps aimed at easing the tensions in the region,” said prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu. “As Turkey, we are ready to make any effort to solve the problems between the two countries,” he said, without specifying what this could entail.

The United Nations Security Council late on Monday strongly condemned the diplomatic mission attacks.

Expressing “deep concern” over the attacks, the 15-member council “called on the Iranian authorities to protect diplomatic and consular property and personnel, and to respect fully their international obligations in this regard”.

Members urged the sides to “maintain dialogue and take steps to reduce tensions in the region”.

Mr Al Mouallimi had earlier urged the Security Council to “take all appropriate measures to ensure the inviolability of diplomatic facilities and the protection of all Saudi diplomats in Iran”.

Iran, for its part, expressed regret after the attacks on Saudi posts. In a letter to the Security Council, the country’s mission at the United Nations vowed to “take necessary measures to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents in the future”.

Yet on Tuesday, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani described the execution of Al Nimr as a crime that Saudi Arabia could not “cover up” by severing diplomatic relations.

Meanwhile, Iranian vice president Mohammad Bagher Nobakht said the country’s intelligence services were investigating the attacks and that police officers who failed to take action to stop the assaults would be prosecuted. Iranian police said at least 50 people had already been arrested over the attack.

* Agencies