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Iran’s Diplomatic Fallout Cascades As Three More Nations Cut Ties

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter

Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan have lowered their diplomatic relations with Iran in response to the ongoing Saudi-Iranian conflict over the execution of a prominent Shia Muslim cleric.

Bahrain and Sudan have completely severed diplomatic relations with Iran, while the UAE has reduced its diplomatic representation. Today’s announcement comes just one day after Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran. The Saudi-Iranian conflict has been ongoing throughout the weekend, beginning  with the Saturday execution of prominent Shia Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr. In response, Iranian rioters stormed the Saudi embassy in the Iranian capital of Tehran, setting it on fire with molotov cocktails. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir then announced Sunday that Saudi Arabia would be cutting all diplomatic relations with Iran.

“In response to the barbaric attacks on the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad… Sudan announces the immediate severing of ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said the Sudanese Foreign Ministry Monday.

“This exceptional step has been taken in the light of Iran’s continuous interference in the internal affairs of Gulf and Arab states, which has reached unprecedented levels,” added the UAE Foreign Ministry in a statement.

In addition, Bahrain claimed in an official statement that the sacking of the Saudi embassy “confirms a determination to spread devastation and destruction, and provoke unrest and strife in the region by providing protection and support for terrorists and extremists and the smuggling of weapons and explosives for use by its affiliated terrorist cells.”

Bahraini tensions with Iran have been rising for some time, reaching a fever-pitch in October of last year when Bahrain recalled its Iranian ambassador in response to “continuing interference by Iran in the affairs of the kingdom.” Bahrain, a predominantly Shia Muslim country, is ruled by a Sunni Muslim royal family and was the center of a the Pearl Revolution, a failed Shia uprising in 2011. The U.S. Navy’s 5th fleet, tasked with patrolling the Persian gulf, is based in the island kingdom of Bahrain.

U.S. response has so far been relegated to a call for “diplomatic engagement and direct conversations” whereas Russia has offered its assistance in quelling the conflict. (RELATED: While Obama Admin Slaps Wrists After Saudi Arabia’s Execution, Russia Steps In To Mediate)

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