“We warn the Saudi officials that such harsh moves seriously hurt the sentiment of all Shias…across the world and they will result in adverse consequences,” Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi said in a statement on Tuesday.
The ayatollah’s warning to Saudi Arabia came against the backdrop of the death penalty handed down to Saudi Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
Moreover, the Saudi regime recently sentenced several Shia Muslims to prison over what officials called “insulting the country’s national flag.”
“Horrible news is heard of the Saudi officials’ treatment of Shias in al-Ahsa and Qatif [in the Eastern Province],” Makarem Shirazi said.
He noted that the death sentence for Nimr would not be tolerated by the Shia clergy and their followers across the world.
On June 26, Iran’s Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Hassan Firouzabadi censured the death penalty for al-Nimr, saying his execution will cost Riyadh dearly.
Al-Nimr has been charged with disturbing the country’s security, giving anti-regime speeches, insulting King Abdullah in Friday Prayers sermons, and defending the political prisoners.
Protests against the Al Saud family have intensified since November 2011, when security forces opened fire on protesters in Qatif in Eastern Province, killing five people and leaving scores more injured.
Activists say there are over 30,000 political prisoners in Saudi Arabia.
Last October, rights group Amnesty International censured Saudi authorities for not addressing the “dire human rights situation” in the kingdom.