The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia severed all diplomatic ties with Iran Sunday, the Saudi foreign minister announced in a press conference.
The major diplomatic move comes after Iranian protestors stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran Saturday night in response to the execution of 47 people suspected of being terrorists. Among them was the Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, whose death was condemned by the Ayatollah Khamenei.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Iran’s diplomats had 48 hours to get out of the country.
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“The kingdom, in light of these realities, announces the cutting of diplomatic relations with Iran and requests the departure of delegates of diplomatic missions of the embassy and consulate and offices related to it within 48 hours,” he said. “The ambassador as been summoned to notify them.”
Iran is a mostly Shiite Muslim country that has for decades been at odds with Saudi Arabia, a mostly Sunni kingdom that has long been a close U.S. ally.
Demonstrations occurred outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran for much of Saturday. Later protestors threw what appear to be Molotov cocktails at the building, videos and photos posted online show.
Tweets from an Iranian journalist showed protesters storming the embassy after setting it ablaze. The protesters are seen in a video running through the embassy smashing objects and tearing apart offices.
It was a scene reminscent of the 1979 storming of the American embassy that touched off the hostage crisis.
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The executions in Saudi Arabia were condemned by the State Department.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the executions “not smart” and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul called the Saudis a regional “arsonist” for doing the executions at a time of high tensions in the Middle East.
Other presidential candidates, such as Carly Fiorina and Dr. Ben Carson had muddled responses to the executions by blaming President Obama for talking with Iran in the nuclear deal.
State Department spokesman John Kirby said American diplomats are watching the situation.
“We’re aware that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has ordered the closure of…