Saudi Arabia announced that it will stop international flights to and from Iran one day after it cut diplomatic ties with Tehran.
The decision comes amid rising diplomatic tension between the two countries after Saudi Arabia executed prominent Shi’a figure Nimr Al-Nimr and Shi’a protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic buildings in Iran.
Some Arab countries have aligned with the Saudi Arabian decision. Bahrain announced that it would cut ties with Tehran in solidarity with Saudi Arabia and Sudan expelled the Iranian ambassador to Sudan.
Both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain gave the Iranian diplomatic missions 48 hours to leave their respective countries.
One day after the UAE announced its support for Ryiadh, the official UAE news agency WAM reported that the UAE would reduce its diplomatic mission to Tehran.
Commenting on Saudi’s decision to end diplomatic relations with his country, the Iranian foreign ministry’s spokesperson said Monday that Saudi Arabia used the attacks on its embassy as a pretext to escalate tensions, indicating that Tehran is committed to protecting all foreign diplomatic missions.
Several international powers expressed concern about the Iranian-Saudi tensions urging both sides to calm not to avoid a regional conflict.
In Iraq, two attacks on Sunni mosques was reported to be a reaction to Al-Nimr’s execution.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry has issued a statement Sunday condemning the attacks on the Saudi Arabian embassy and consulate in Iran.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid reiterated the need to respect the sanctity of the premises of diplomatic and consular missions and the safety of their employees, as outlined in the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.
Several Egyptian politicians and parliamentarians have expressed their dismay over the Iranian official reaction and the attacks on the Saudi diplomatic buildings.
The Association of Egyptians Abroad has described the Iranian aggression as “barbarian”, saying that the Shi’a-majority country is a sponsor for terrorism. They also demanded that Egypt cut economic and diplomatic ties with Iran.
Several observers and activists have described the Egyptian statement as a “cautious reaction”, especially when compared to reactions of countries like the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Political analyst Abdel-Moneim Said however said that Egypt is afraid that the burgeoning discourse centred on sectarianism would displace Egypt’s focus on the war against terrorism. He said that the incident is currently being portrayed as a Shi’a-Sunni war instead of a Saudi internal affair.
Palestinian-Jordanian political commentator Yasser Zaatreh said that a clearer stance from Egypt in support of Saudi Arabia would change the situation significantly.