U.S. cautious as tensions rise in Middle East over Saudi-Iran dispute

U.S. cautious as tensions rise in Middle East over Saudi-Iran dispute

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The Obama administration tread warily Monday around inflamed tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia that threaten several key U.S. foreign policy objectives.

A U.S. official said Secretary of State John Kerry had spoken Sunday with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, while the official Saudi Press Agency reported that Kerry had spoken on Monday with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Salman.

Kerry is also planning to make a round of calls Monday to the foreign ministers of all the Sunni-led states in the Persian Gulf region, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, the U.S. official said. Bahrain followed Saudi Arabia’s lead and severed diplomatic ties with Iran, while the UAE downgraded its diplomatic relations with it. Read more…

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U.S. cautious as tensions rise in Middle East over Saudi-Iran dispute

Protesters set fire to Saudi embassy in Iran after prominent cleric's execution

Protesters set fire to Saudi embassy in Iran after prominent cleric’s execution

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A crowd of Iranian protesters stormed and ransacked part of the Saudi embassy in Tehran on Saturday in response to the country’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric.

Photos and video footage posted to Twitter and Instagram show demonstrators smashing windows, ripping apart furniture and flags and torching parts of the building with Molotov cocktails. Iranian journalist Sobhan Hassanvand reported on Twitter that the protest was later quelled after police dispersed the crowd and made several arrests. Firefighters were also working to contain the blaze.

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Protesters set fire to Saudi embassy in Iran after prominent cleric’s execution

Saudi Arabia executes 47, including the critical Shiite cleric al-Nimr

Saudi Arabia executes 47, including the critical Shiite cleric al-Nimr

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UPDATED Jan. 2, 2015 6 p.m. ET to include a family statement.

Religious leaders across the Middle East are denouncing Saudi Arabia’s decision to execute a prominent Shiite cleric at the center of the country’s 2011 Arab-spring inspired protests

He was killed along with 46 other prisoners convicted of terrorism charges in a series of executions that took place in several cities and towns throughout the country on Saturday.

Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr’s name appeared on the list of 47 names released by Saudi Arabia’s state-run news outlet, which is citing information from the Ministry of the Interior

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Saudi Arabia executes 47, including the critical Shiite cleric al-Nimr