The relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran has rarely been good, but even for these two regional rivals the past few days have been unusually rough. Following the announcement of the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric in the Persian Gulf kingdom on Saturday, the Saudi Embassy in Tehran was ransacked. On Sunday, Saudi Arabia broke off diplomatic relations with Iran. The next day, several of its allies followed suit.
It’s a tense situation, only furthering a highly politicized sectarianism that has created many problems in the Middle East in recent years and may well end up creating more problems. But for now, most of the conflict between the two states is in text – criticism and insults playing out in the international media.
Here are some examples from the war of words between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The message included in an image released by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that compared Saudi Arabia’s use of beheadings of those "opposing ISIS supporters" to the Islamic State’s own beheadings of captives.
“The regime of Iran is the last in the world who could accuse others of supporting terrorism since it is a terrorism-sponsor state which is repeatedly condemned by the United Nations and a number of countries.”
A statement from an unnamed source in the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency, that links Iran’s criticism of Saudi Arabia to reports of it being a sponsor of terrorist attacks.
“A barbaric act by the reactionary, medieval and terrorist-nurturing Saudi regime.”
A statement from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, as reported by the semiofficial Fars News Agency.
“The history of Iran is full of negative and hostile interference in Arab countries, always accompanied by ruin, destruction and the killing of innocent souls.”
A comment made by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir at a news conference just before the country announced it would be breaking diplomatic ties with Iran.
“Any hope for Saudi rational behavior has ended.… When a regime loses its mind, that means it has reached the abyss.”
Hasan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanese political party and key Iranian ally Hezbollah, during a televised address on Sunday.
Iran must “act like a normal country.”
Jubeir to Reuters when announcing Monday that Saudi Arabia would end air traffic and trade links with Iran.
“Saudis are advised to stop acting in a disruptive, hasty, illogical and emotional manner as well as works, because they are the ones who will face losses in cutting ties with Iran.”
Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, according to the semiofficial Tasnim News Agency.
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