Saudi Arabia to pay dearly if cleric Nimr executed: Iran
Iran says Saudi Arabia’s execution of prominent Shia cleric Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, if carried out, would come at “a heavy expense” for the kingdom.
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.
Later on the day, 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.”
Nimr’s lawyer, Sadeq al-Jubran, has also said that Nimr could be executed as soon as the Saudi monarch approves his sentence.
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.
Amir-Abdollahian said, “The country is yet to provide a convincing response for its mismanagement of the year’s Hajj pilgrimage, which led to the death of thousands of Shia and Sunni Muslims.”
The Iranian official was referring to the crush that occurred after two large masses of pilgrims converged at a crossroads in Mina outside the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia on September 24.
Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization has said a total of at least 4,700 people lost their lives in the incident.
The year’s Hajj incidents and Saudi Arabia’s military invasion of Yemen proved that the country “is not in favorable conditions; and provocative and sectarian approaches against its citizens will not be in the [Saudi] government’s favor,” Amir-Abdollahian said.
The Saudi military has been engaged in military strikes against Yemen since late March. The strikes are supposedly meant to undermine the Houthi movement and restore power to the fugitive former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.
About 7,000 people have lost their lives in the Saudi strikes, and a total of nearly 14,000 people have been injured since March 26.
Amir-Abdollahian urged Riyadh to “avoid adventuresome behavior against its people and the people of the region and tread on the path of fairness and rationality.”