The Latest: Iran president says Saudis fan religious strife

The Latest: Iran president says Saudis fan religious strife

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The latest developments after Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Tehran amid a dispute over Riyadh's execution of an opposition Shiite cleric and attacks on Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran. (All times local).

2:21 a.m. Thursday

Iran's president is accusing Saudi Arabia's government of fanning strife between Shiite and Sunni Muslims and creating "an Islamaphobic atmosphere" in world opinion, according to Iran's U.N. Mission.

In a press release, Hassan Rouhani accused the Saudis of supporting terrorism and obstructing "the victory of Iraqi and Syrian governments," and heightening tensions in the region.

Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran on Sunday after the attacks, sparked by Saudi Arabia's execution of a prominent opposition Shiite cleric over the weekend.


10:30 p.m.

Qatar has recalled its ambassador from Iran to protest attacks on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and Consulate in Mashhad, violence stemming from the Saudi execution of an opposition Shiite cleric.

The official Qatar News Agency reported the move Wednesday in a brief dispatch.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran over the attacks on its diplomatic missions and Iran's criticism of the execution, which Riyadh said amounted to meddling in its internal affairs.

Saudi allies have followed suit, with Bahrain cutting relations with Iran and the United Arab Emirates downgrading ties.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are longtime regional rivals which back opposite sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen.

Qatar has had troubled relations with Saudi Arabia in the past, but ties have improved in recent years, and both countries are leading backers of the Syrian rebels fighting to oust President Bashar Assad.


6:40 p.m.

The state news agency Petra says Jordan has summoned Iran's ambassador to convey its condemnation of the storming of two of Saudi Arabia's diplomatic missions in Iran.

The storming of the missions followed Saudi Arabia's execution last week of a top Shiite cleric who was also an opposition figure.

Several Saudi allies have followed the kingdom's lead and scaled back or cut diplomatic ties to Iran.

Jordan is a beneficiary of large sums of Saudi aid. It has previously condemned the storming of the missions and stepped up its protest by summoning the Iranian ambassador.

Petra on Wednesday quoted the Jordanian Foreign Ministry as saying that the attacks on the diplomatic missions "constitute a flagrant violation of international conventions."


6 p.m.

Bahrain says it has broken up a militant Shiite group backed by Iran's Revolutionary Guard and the Lebanese Hezbollah.

Bahrain's Interior Ministry announced the arrests Wednesday. It says the group received $20,000 from Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese Shiite militant group.

The ministry says the group had links to those behind a 2015 bombing that killed two police officers and planned to carry out other bombings.

The tiny, Sunni-ruled island of Bahrain is predominantly Shiite. It has faced low-level unrest since 2011 Arab Spring-inspired protests by Shiites seeking more political rights. It also is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

Bahrain followed the lead of its close ally Saudi Arabia in severing ties to Iran and canceling flights this week in response to protester attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran. The violence was linked to the Saudi execution of an opposition Shiite cleric.


5 p.m.

Iranian diplomats have left Saudi Arabia and returned to Tehran after the kingdom severed ties with the Islamic Republic.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency reported Wednesday that staff at the Iranian Embassy in Riyadh and the Iranian Consulate in Jiddah had left the country. State media in Iran showed still photographs it said were of the diplomats arriving in Tehran on a Meraj Airlines jet.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties to Iran over the storming of two diplomatic posts in the country following the kingdom's execution of a top Shiite cleric who was also an opposition figure.

Several Saudi allies have followed the kingdom's lead and scaled back or cut diplomatic ties to Iran.

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