Saudi Arabia severs ties with Tehran and its diplomats evacuate the Islamic Republic, in a worsening diplomatic crisis between the regional rivals. Mana Rabiee reports.
The situation between Iran and Saudi Arabia was already tense and, now, it's unraveled some more. Saudi Arabia says it's severed ties with Tehran and that its diplomats have evacuated the Islamic Republic via land. This, after an angry crowd stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran on Sunday over Riyadh's execution of a leading Shi'ite cleric. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir made the announcement. (SOUNDBITE) (English) VARIOUS OF SAUDI FOREIGN MINISTER ADEL AL-JUBEIR SPEAKING AT NEWS CONFERENCE "We are determined not to allow Iran to undermine our security. We are determined not to let Iran mobilise or create or establish terrorist cells in our country or in the countries of our allies." Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was an outspoken critic of the ruling Al Saud family. He was killed Saturday in a mass execution of some 50 people under terrorism charges. Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called his killing "a great crime." (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER, AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI, SAYING: "It is also a mistake because the (spilled) blood will undoubtedly bring (divine) retribution. Saudi politicians, rulers and policymakers should have no doubt that there will be divine vengeance for this blood. God almighty will not pardon those who spill the blood of the innocent." It's unclear what 'material' retribution Tehran might seek. What IS clear -- is that Sunday's development is a worsening diplomatic crisis between the regional rivals - revolutionary, mainly Shi'ite Iran and Saudi Arabia's conservative Sunni monarchy.