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Iran: President Rouhani slams Riyadh for 'creating increased' MidEast divisions01:22

Iran: President Rouhani slams Riyadh for 'creating increased' MidEast divisions

Iran, Islamic Republic of, Tehran
January 6, 2016 at 04:35 GMT +00:00 · Published

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accused Saudi Arabia of providing "financial and military support for regional terrorism," during a speech at a Cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday. He went on to blame Riyadh for "throwing hurdles in the way of victories for the Iraqi and Syrian governments" and of launching missile and air attacks "against the innocent people of Yemen."

"All these measures have been taken with the aim of creating increased divisions between Shias and Sunnis and escalating tension in the region," Rouhani stressed.

The Iranian president also condemned recent attacks on Saudi Arabian diplomatic buildings in Tehran and Mashhad. He called for the attackers to be identified "so justice can be administered."

The comments come amid rising Saudi-Iranian tensions following the execution of the top Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr at the hands of the Saudi government last Saturday. Since the incident, a war of words has ensued between the two countries with protests erupting across the Middle East. The storming of the Saudi embassy in Tehran following the execution has since prompted Riyadh to sever diplomatic ties with Iran.

Sheikh Nimr, a leading Shia cleric, was among 47 people executed last Saturday, after being convicted of "terrorism" offenses. He was a vocal critic of Saudi Arabia, and was one of seven people accused of orchestrating anti-government protests that erupted in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province in 2011. Saudi Arabia executed more than 150 people over the course of last year.

Iran: President Rouhani slams Riyadh for 'creating increased' MidEast divisions01:22
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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accused Saudi Arabia of providing "financial and military support for regional terrorism," during a speech at a Cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday. He went on to blame Riyadh for "throwing hurdles in the way of victories for the Iraqi and Syrian governments" and of launching missile and air attacks "against the innocent people of Yemen."

"All these measures have been taken with the aim of creating increased divisions between Shias and Sunnis and escalating tension in the region," Rouhani stressed.

The Iranian president also condemned recent attacks on Saudi Arabian diplomatic buildings in Tehran and Mashhad. He called for the attackers to be identified "so justice can be administered."

The comments come amid rising Saudi-Iranian tensions following the execution of the top Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr at the hands of the Saudi government last Saturday. Since the incident, a war of words has ensued between the two countries with protests erupting across the Middle East. The storming of the Saudi embassy in Tehran following the execution has since prompted Riyadh to sever diplomatic ties with Iran.

Sheikh Nimr, a leading Shia cleric, was among 47 people executed last Saturday, after being convicted of "terrorism" offenses. He was a vocal critic of Saudi Arabia, and was one of seven people accused of orchestrating anti-government protests that erupted in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province in 2011. Saudi Arabia executed more than 150 people over the course of last year.

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