Qatar has added to growing condemnation of an attack by protestors on Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Iran by withdrawing its ambassador to the country.
The attack followed the execution of Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabian authorities, which sparked protests in Shia-majority areas and countries across the region.
“Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs recalled today Qatar’s Ambassador to Tehran following the attacks on the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Tehran and general consulate in Mashhad,” said director of Asian department at the Foreign Ministry HE Khalid bin Ibrahim Al Hamar in a statement on state-owned Qatar News Agency’s website.
The emirate followed Djibouti, Bahrain and Sudan in withdrawing their ambassadors to Tehran yesterday as regional tensions continued to rise. Gulf states including Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates had already recalled their ambassadors to the country, while Saudi Arabia has cut off all diplomatic and commercial relations.
Qatar’s response places its policy more in line with its Gulf Cooperation Council allies after being at odds with Saudi Arabia on a number of regional issues. These included the supporting of different rebel groups in Syria and the backing of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt.
However, recent moves including Qatar’s contribution of troops to the Saudi coalition for the war in Yemen have led to a warming of relations between the Gulf neighbours.
Yesterday, Iraq offered to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia and world leaders called for calm between the two sides. But tensions continued as Bahrain claimed it had foiled a terrorist plot by an Iran-backed cell planning a series of bombing attacks in the Gulf.