Iranians set fire to Saudi embassy after cleric’s execution

TEHRAN,  Following the execution of an outspoken Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, protesters ransacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran, setting fire to the building.

A photo purporting to show the inside of the Saudi embassy in Tehran on Saturday. Protesters set fire to the embassy, and broke in and ransacked it in protest of Saudi Arabia's execution of Shiite leader Nimr al-Nimr. Photo by Sobhan Hassanvand/Twitter.
A photo purporting to show the inside of the Saudi embassy in Tehran on Saturday. Protesters set fire to the embassy, and broke in and ransacked it in protest of Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shiite leader Nimr al-Nimr. Photo by Sobhan Hassanvand/Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New York Times reported protesters gathered outside of the embassy and began throwing Molotov cocktails at the building. They proceed to break windows and smash furniture.

Iranian journalist Sobhan Hassanvand tweeted photos and videos of the crowd cheering as the building burned.

The Times reported police arrived to the scene, dispersed protesters and put out fires.

Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was executed along with 46 others convicted of terrorism-related offenses in Saudi Arabia Saturday. The mass-execution one of the largest in Saudi Arabia in decades. The Saudi kingdom executed 157 people in 2015, its most in nearly 20 years.

Sheikh Nimr was a vocal critic of the monarchy. During the Arab Spring, Shiite protesters adopted Nimr as a symbolic leader. Because of this, his execution is seen as part of a rivalry. Amnesty International had warned of the impending execution in November.

Swift condemnation came from the Houthi rebel movement in Yemen, from politicians and clerics in Iraq, and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Hundreds of Shiites marched in eastern Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Bahrain, an ally of Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, defended the Saudi kingdom.

Elsewhere in Iran, the Saudi flag was torn down from the consulate in the city of Mashhad.

By Ann Marie Awad

UPI NEWS