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US rules out mediation role in easing Saudi-Iran tensions - State Department

US rules out mediation role in easing Saudi-Iran tensions - State Department

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Date: 5 January 2016 01:27

The United States does not plan to mediate in the latest diplomatic row between Saudi Arabia and Iran over Riyadh’s execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr and 46 other Shiite Muslims, US Department of State spokesperson John Kirby said during a press briefing on Monday.

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia announced it executed 47 people convicted on charges of terrorism. The Saudi state news agency said most of the individuals were members of al-Qaeda.

The executed included a prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. His execution prompted attacks on the Saudi embassy in Tehran and the Saudi consulate in Mashhad.

Earlier on Monday, Human Rights Watch condemned Saudi mass executions calling it a shameful start to 2016.

On Saturday, demonstrators in Iran protesting al-Nimr’s execution attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran, as well as the Saudi consulate in Mashhad. Following the incident, Saudi Arabia announced it cut diplomatic ties and air transportation links with Iran.

"If you're asking if we're trying to become a mediator of this… the answer is ‘no’," Kirby stated.

Kirby noted that the United States would like to see "tensions decreased" and "engagement continue," but that those would be issues that "these countries have got to work out for themselves."

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