Since Saudi Arabia’s mass execution of 47 people on 2 January 2016, several states have followed Saudi Arabia’s lead and severed diplomatic ties with Iran. Among the first states to recall their ambassadors from Tehran were Bahrain, Sudan, and the UAE. Kuwait recently became the fourth GCC member state to take diplomatic action against Iran by recalling its ambassador, following demonstrations in Tehran against the execution of Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Meanwhile, the US and UK have largely focused media attention on the protests in Iran while failing to condemn the execution itself.
Saudi Arabia’s decision to carry out the mass execution has led to increased sectarian tensions in the Gulf and the Middle East. With Bahrain, Sudan, the UAE, and now Kuwait following Saudi Arabia’s lead, reports suggest that Saudi Arabia may be moving to rally other support to end diplomatic relations with Iran.
William Jay is an advocacy intern at Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain.
Photo courtesy of the Washington Post.