Riyadh is hosting an emergency meeting of foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states today, at which the parties will discuss the conflict which arose between Saudi Arabia and Iran after the attacks on the Saudi diplomatic missions in Tehran and Mashhad.
The meeting will be headed by the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, Adil al-Dzhubeyr, who now presides over the Council of Ministers of the GCC. "The meeting will be devoted to studying the challenges related to the attacks on the Embassy of the Saudi Kingdom in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad," Sputnik Georgia cites the statement of the GCC secretariat.
It is expected that after the meeting, the foreign ministers will make a joint statement, which will reflect the common position of the Arabian monarchies regarding the development of relations with Iran in light of recent events.
Last week Saudi Arabia announced the severance of diplomatic relations with its main regional rival, the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). A corresponding statement was made by the Foreign Minister of the Saudi Kingdom, Adil al-Dzhubeyr, after protesters attacked the Saudi embassy in the Iranian capital and its consulate in Mashhad on January 2nd, that while the buildings of diplomatic missions were severely damaged, none of the Saudi diplomats were injured. The actions of protest in Iran did not stop for several days.
The statement by the Saudi authorities about the mass execution of those accused of involvement in extremist groups and terrorist acts preceded the protests. Capital punishment had been enforced for 47 people, but the execution of the famous Shiite preacher, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, caused the greatest reverberations. He was arrested back in July 2012 on accusation of incitement to mass protests and riots. In the province of Al Sharqiya in the east of the Kingdom, where large numbers of Shiite Muslims live this arrest became a cause of demonstrations at the time. Two years later, in October 2014, he was sentenced.
The Iranian authorities reacted to the execution of al-Nimr immediately. "While the terrorists supported by the Kingdom violate peace and security and pose a threat to the people living in the region, the Riyadh regime carries out executions of its political opponents, such as Sheikh al-Nimr," the press secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran Hossein Jaber Ansari stated. In response, the Saudi Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador and handed him a protest note.