Ayatollah Sheikh Nimr’s execution intensifies crisis in Saudi Arabia’s Shia-populated areas: Iran MP
A senior Iranian lawmaker warns that Saudi Arabia’s possible execution of prominent Shia cleric Nimr Baqr al-Nimr could trigger a new wave of unrest in the Arab country’s Shia-populated areas.
Chairman of the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said on Monday that the execution, if carried out, would result in a “new chapter of crisis and unrest” in the kingdom’s Shia-dominated region which will be by no means beneficial to the Saudi government.
“Ayatollah Sheikh Nimr has committed no offense but speaking to people,” Boroujerdi added.
The Iranian lawmaker emphasized that Saudi Arabia seeks to implement the decision to execute Sheikh Nimr “without any logic.”
On Sunday, Nimr’s brother, Mohammad, confirmed that the Saudi Supreme Court and the Specialized Appeals Court had endorsed a death sentence issued last year against him for inciting sectarian strife and disobeying King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The cleric has denied the charges.
Nimr’s lawyer, Sadeq al-Jubran, has also said that Nimr could be executed as soon as the Saudi monarch approves his sentence.
Following Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court’s rejection of an appeal against the Shia cleric’s death sentence, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian addressed Saudi authorities on the matter, saying, “The execution of Sheikh Nimr will exact a heavy price on Saudi Arabia.”
The UK-based rights group Amnesty International has called Nimr’s trial “deeply flawed” and the death sentence “appalling,” saying the verdict has to be quashed.