Iran warns of extremism fallout in Mideast
Iran Press TV
Sun Jan 3, 2016 6:33PM
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has warned against the repercussions of extremism in the Middle East region following Saudi Arabia's execution of a top Shia cleric.
Zarif held separate phone conversations on Sunday with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini as well as a number of foreign ministers from regional states.
Zarif reiterated Iran's condemnation of the execution on Saturday of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, noting that the Shia cleric's execution was in line with divisive and pro-terrorism policies which have been ravaging the region and the world.
The Iranian foreign minister also underscored the need for coordinated regional and international initiatives to bring a halt to measures against religious groups and tribalism-based policies.
Zarif also said that the Islamic Republic remains fully committed to safeguarding diplomatic missions it hosts.
The execution of Sheikh Nimr sparked angry protests in various countries.
On Saturday evening, Iranian police prevented angry protesters from storming the Saudi embassy in Tehran. According to reports, a number of people threw incendiary devices at the building causing minor damage. Police forces, deployed to keep order, dispersed the angry crowd.
Sheikh Nimr had been arrested in 2012 in the Qatif region of Saudi Arabia's Shia-majority Eastern Province, which was the scene of peaceful anti-regime demonstrations at the time. He had been charged with instigating unrest and undermining the kingdom's security. Nimr had rejected the charges as baseless.
In 2014, a Saudi court sentenced the clergyman to death, provoking widespread global condemnations. Back then, the UK-based rights body Amnesty International called the sentence "appalling," saying the verdict should be quashed since it was politically motivated.
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