Was the Iran embassy attacked in Yemen, or was it inadvertently damaged due to Saudi bombings in the area? Saudi Arabia is denying the Iran embassy attack, but there is no question that they carried out bomb raids in the area. Today, they are investigating the incident, which broke windows in the front of the embassy, destroyed a home across the street, and injured embassy guards. Although there seems to be some doubt about intention, the damage seems to be real.
The Iran embassy attack comes in the wake of heavily protested executions and broken relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia carried out the execution of 47 people, including Sheikh Nimr al-Nimar, a Shiite cleric. Protests have sprung up all over the world on al-Nimar’s behalf. The cleric had been very critical of Saudi government officials and was accused of terrorism, but the Iranian people are enraged by the execution of any Shiite cleric. It appears somewhat suspicious to Iran that their embassy in Yemen was seemingly attacked and was almost certainly damaged by Saudi bombs at this time.
The New York Times reports a statement about the Iran embassy attack from Hossein Jabar Ansari, the Iranian foreign minister. Ansari confirmed that security personnel had been injured in the embassy attack and that Iran condemned the attack.
“This deliberate attempt by the Saudi government is in violation of all the conventions and regulation of international law on the protection and the security of diplomatic premises in all situations, and the responsibility for the action, as well as compensation for damage done to the building and injuries to the embassy staff, lies with the government of Saudi Arabia.”
Interestingly, a crowd of angry Iranian citizens had recently attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. A similar incident occurred in Mashhad’s Saudi Consulate. This would also, by their own definition, be a violation of international law. It would, however, make it seem that perhaps this Iran embassy attack was Saudi retaliation. Saudi Arabia denies this accusation, however, maintaining their assertion that they did not attack the embassy.
Arab News reports the support of Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Kuwait for Saudi Arabia following the Iranian attack of Saudi ministries. Malaysia Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman issued a statement to condemn the Iran attacks on Saudi Arabia embassy.
“Malaysia strongly condemns the acts of the mob that attacked the embassy and consulate of Saudi Arabia in Tehran and Mashhad.”
Some foreign embassies are closing in Iran. Kuwait is recalling its ambassador to Iran. It appears that Iran will have few allies in any sort of conflict with the Saudis.
Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, who is a commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran, made a predictive statement to the Saudis about the executions.
“Saddam, in Iraq, took the same course, executed a leading cleric in Iraq and finally took resort in domestic suppression and aggression toward other countries, but ultimately his faith ended in humiliation.”
The comparison does not end there. Sadam was a friend to the U.S. for decades. The Iranians are very resentful of Saudi relations with the U.S. Even though the U.S. was in no way involved in the executions, protests in Iran frequently burn American flags as if Saudi Arabia is part of America.
“This regime, Saudi Arabia, has taken political refuge with the Americans,” continued Salami.
He concluded that the Saudis will “face collapse in the near future”
Although an all-out war between Iran and Saudi Arabia is doubtful, tensions between them could not be higher. Whether or not the attack was deliberate, the Iran embassy attacked last night will likely not be avenged by overt war, but terror attacks and more embassy attacks are probable.
[Photo by Vahid Salemi/AP]