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23 April 2024

Saudi bans travel to Iran; UN Security Council condemns attack

Saudi Arabia's civil aviation authority said it was cutting all air links with Iran (File)

By Wam with Agencies

Latest: The UN Security Council on Monday strongly condemned an attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran by protesters angry over Riyadh's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric.

The statement by the 15-member council made no mention of the execution of Sheikh Nimr Al Nimr and called on Iran to protect diplomatic personnel and property.

Saudi Arabia cut off diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday after protesters ransacked and set fire to the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and the consulate in Mashhad.

"The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the attacks against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran, and its Consulate General in Mashhad in the Islamic Republic of Iran, which resulted in intrusions into the diplomatic and consular premises, causing serious damage," said the council statement.

Expressing "deep concern" over the attacks, the council "called on the Iranian authorities to protect diplomatic and consular property and personnel, and to respect fully their international obligations in this regard."

Council members urged the sides to "maintain dialogue and take steps to reduce tensions in the region."

Saudi Ambassador Abdallah Al Mouallimi had earlier urged the council to "take all appropriate measures to ensure the inviolability of diplomatic facilities and the protection of all Saudi diplomats in Iran."

Riyadh also defended the execution of 47 men including Nimr, saying in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that they were "granted fair and just trials without any consideration to their intellectual, racial or sectarian affiliation."

Saudi Crown Prince, John Kerry discuss ties

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defence, on Monday received a telephone call from United States Secretary of State John Kerry.

Saudi Press Agency, SPA, reported that during the telephone conversation, they reviewed bilateral co-operation and discussed the latest developments in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia will ban its citizens from travelling to Iran, the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir said.

The Kingdom will also cut off all commercial ties with Tehran.

Also Read: UAE downgrades relations with Iran; Bahrain and Sudan cut ties

Saudi Arabia's civil aviation authority said on Monday it was cutting all air links with Iran after Riyadh severed diplomatic ties with Tehran amid a mounting diplomatic row.

The authority said that following the kingdom's decision to cut diplomatic relations, it had informed all airlines operating in Saudi Arabia it was "suspending and preventing all their flights to and from Iran," according to a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

Iranian pilgrims would still be welcome to visit Islam's holiest sites in Makkah and Medinah in western Saudi Arabia, either for the annual Hajj or at other times of year on the Umrah pilgrimage, Al Jubeir said.

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