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Security Council Urges Saudi Arabia, Iran To Avoid Tensions

Foreign ministers vote during a UN Security Council meeting on Syria on December 18, 2015. ©AFP

The announcement of a break in Saudi diplomatic relations with Tehran is deeply worrying.” Ban Ki-moon

The UN Security Council has called on Saudi Arabia and Iran to avoid actions that could exacerbate tensions in the region after the kingdom’s execution of prominent cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. 

In a statement on Monday, the 15-member council urged the two sides to “maintain dialogue and take steps to reduce tensions in the region.”

The council made no mention of the Saudi execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, which has triggered angry protests in Iran and elsewhere across the world.

The statement, instead, censured assaults on two Saudi missions in Iran during angry protests which broke out following sudden execution of Sheikh Nimr.

The Security Council called on Iran “to protect diplomatic and consular property and personnel.”

Iranian officials have said some 50 people were detained over the incidents outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad.

President Hassan Rouhani denounced the assaults and pledged to deal firmly with “unruly” elements.

Saudi Arabia used the incidents to attack Iran and on Sunday, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the kingdom was severing all diplomatic relations with Iran.

Iran has said Saudi rulers were trying to divert attention from the Nimr execution fallout and other domestic problems.

On Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari said the decision to cut relations showed the kingdom’s “survival hinges on stoking tensions.” 

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