Iranian protesters ransack Saudi embassy in Tehran, sparking diplomatic rift

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Hours after Iranian protesters set fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran early Sunday morning, Saudi Arabia announced that it will sever all diplomatic ties with Iran. CNN reported that Riyadh has given all Iranian diplomats in Saudi Arabia 48 hours to leave the country.

Iranian protesters ransacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran after prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr was executed along with 46 others, most of whom were deemed terrorists, on Saturday.

According to CCN, Al-Nimr called for the removal of the royal Saudi family during the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011. Many Shiites across the region believe the Saudi regime went too far with his execution.

Al-Nimr’s execution upset Iran at a time where there’s growing Sunni-Shia divide in the region, playing out in conflicts in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

Later that night following al-Nimr’s execution, the New York Times reports that protesters outside the Saudi embassy threw molotov cocktails at the compound. Some protesters went inside the building and destroyed embassy property and smashed windows. Others also lit a room on fire before security forces restored order.

According to the New York Times, the last mass execution of similar scale in Saudi Arabia was in 1980 when 63 jihadists were killed after they seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr in Sunni Saudi Arabia
2. Al-Nimr executed with 46 others in Saudi Arabia
3. Iran upset; Sunni-Shia divide in the region
4. Protest occurred following al-Nimr’s execution
5. Protesters broke furniture and windows in the Saudi embassy; lit room on fire

VOICEOVER (in English):

“Iranian protesters ransacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran after prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, in the predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia, …”

“… was executed along with 46 others, most of whom were deemed terrorists, on Saturday.”

“Al-Nimr’s execution upset Iran at a time where there’s growing Sunni-Shia divide in the region, playing out in conflicts in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.”

“Later that night following al-Nimr’s execution, protesters outside the Saudi embassy threw molotov cocktails at the compound.”

“Some protesters went inside the building and destroyed embassy property and smashed windows. Others also lit a room on fire before security forces restored order.”

SOURCES: CNN, Reuters, The New York Times
http://edition.cnn.com/2016/01/03/middleeast/saudi-arabia-executes-dozens-terror/
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-security-iran-fury-idUSKBN0UH00C20160104
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/03/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-executes-47-sheikh-nimr-shiite-cleric.html?_r=0