Saudi Suspends All Flights and Trade With Iran

Saudi Arabia expanding its clash with Iran further, as its Foreign Minister said to end all air traffic and trade with Iran. The heightened tension between the two countries has escalated starting the new year when Saudi Arabia executed a Shia cleric.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Reuters that Tehran was responsible for rising tensions after Saudi Arabia executed Shi'ite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr on Saturday. Saudi government described the prominent cleric, known as an outspoken opponent of Saudi Arabia ruler as a terrorist.

Following the execution, protesters stormed Saudi embassy in Tehran and set some part of the building ablaze. Saudi reacted by cutting its diplomatic ties with Iran.

Saudi Arabia insisted that Riyadh just responded to what the country called as Iranian aggression. Furthermore, Jubeir told Reuters, "There is no escalation on the part of Saudi Arabia. Our moves are all reactive. It is the Iranians who went into Lebanon. It is the Iranians who sent their Qods Force and their Revolutionary Guards into Syria."

Furthermore, the minister said, "We will also be cutting off all air traffic to and from Iran. We will be cutting off all commercial relations with Iran. And we will have a travel ban against people traveling to Iran."

Tehran denied all allegations and said that the country only sent military advisers to Syria and Iraq at the request from each governments. Hossein Jaberi Ansari, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeperson said that Saudi is the one responsible for the tension,"Saudi Arabia, which thrives on tensions, has used this incident as an excuse to fuel the tensions."

Iran and Saudi Arabia have been a long time rivalry in Middle East. They both apply opposite sects of islam, Iran is the Shia power while Saudi is the main Sunni force. Both sects are fighting continuously for influences in the Middle East.

The heigthened tension also spread to allies of Saudi and Iran. According to Sky News, Sunni allies of Saudi: Bahrain, Sudan and United Arab Emirates have also severed or reduced diplomatic ties with Iran. While sectarian anger also sparked in eastern Saudi, where hundreds of Shia marched through the streets and in countries such as Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq, India and Lebanon.

Iranian News Agency, IRNA reported that Russian has condemned Saudi Arabia for the execution. Head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the lower house of Russia's Parliament, Alexei Pushkov said that execution in Saudi Arabia has demonstrated that the country is trying to create an anti-Shia coalition. The Russian lawmaker also said that the execution as sensational.

The sectarian tension between Saudi and Iran have gone further to each others' allies. Recent Saudi's action to suspend flight between the countries will make the condition worse, as Tehran may respond strongly.

Real Time Analytics