Tehran mob attacks Saudi embassy after execution of Shiite cleric
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Tehran mob attacks Saudi embassy after execution of Shiite cleric

Saudi consulate in Iran’s second largest city also torched after Riyadh kills anti-government protester

Smoke rises as Iranian protesters upset over the execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia set fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran, Sunday, January 3, 2016. (Mohammadreza Nadimi/ISNA via AP)
Smoke rises as Iranian protesters upset over the execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia set fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran, Sunday, January 3, 2016. (Mohammadreza Nadimi/ISNA via AP)

Angry crowds protesting at Saudi Arabia’s execution of a top Shiite cleric hurled petrol bombs and stormed the kingdom’s embassy in Tehran Saturday before being cleared out by police, ISNA news agency reported.

In Mashhad, Iran’s second biggest city, demonstrators set fire to the Saudi consulate, according to news sites, which carried pictures of the alleged assault.

The incidents came hours after the announcement of the execution of 56-year-old cleric Nimr al-Nimr, a key figure in anti-government protests in the kingdom since 2011.

The execution prompted strong condemnation from Shiite-majority Iran and Iraq.

“There are flames inside the embassy… demonstrators were able to get inside but have since been cleared out,” ISNA said.

Protesters had been able to climb up onto the roof of the embassy before they were made to leave, it added.

Websites carried pictures of demonstrators apparently clutching the Saudi flag, which had been pulled down.

Iranian media quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari as asking police to “protect Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic missions in Tehan and Mashhad… and prevent any demonstrations in front of these sites.”

Nimr, who spent more than a decade studying theology in Iran, was among a group of 47 Shiites and Sunnis executed Saturday on charges of terrorism.

Predominantly-Shiite Iran, the Sunni kingdom’s longtime rival, said in reaction to Nimr’s execution that “the Saudi government supports terrorist movements and extremists, but confronts domestic critics with oppression and execution.”

It will “pay a high price for following these policies,” Jaber Ansari had warned before the attacks took place.

In response, Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said it had summoned Iran’s envoy to protest at the “aggressive Iranian statements on the legal sentences carried out today”.

The Saudi interior ministry said the men had been convicted of adopting the radical “takfiri” ideology, joining “terrorist organisations” and implementing various “criminal plots”.

An official list published included Sunnis convicted of involvement in Al-Qaeda attacks that killed Saudis and foreigners in 2003 and 2004.

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