A look at where countries stand in dispute between Saudi Arabia, Iran

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which began with the kingdom's execution of a Shiite cleric and escalated with attacks on Saudi diplomatic posts in the Islamic Republic, have countries around the world responding by choosing sides or urging calm.

See Full Article

Some nations have followed the Saudis' lead in severing or downgrading ties with Iran, while others have offered words of caution aimed at calming the situation.

Here's a look at where countries and other regional actors stand at this point:

THE MAIN ACTORS:

SAUDI ARABIA -- The kingdom severed ties to Iran after attacks on two of its diplomatic posts following its execution of a Shiite cleric last weekend. It also later cancelled all flights between the two nations.

IRAN -- Since the attack on the diplomatic posts, Iran says it has made arrests and has criticized the violent protesters. However on Tuesday, President Hassan Rouhani took a slightly harder line, saying Saudi Arabia's move to sever ties with his country couldn't "cover its crime" of executing Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

COUNTRIES BACKING SAUDI ARABIA:

BAHRAIN -- The tiny, Shiite-majority island kingdom off the Saudi coast, which long has relied on Riyadh for support of its Sunni rulers, was the first to cut ties with Iran and has also halted flights. Bahraini officials repeatedly have accused Iran of training militants and attempting to smuggle arms into the country, which hosts the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

SUDAN -- The African nation cut diplomatic ties to Iran and gave Iranian diplomats two weeks to leave the country. Sudan once tilted toward Iran, but has been looking to Saudi Arabia for aid since the secession of oil-rich South Sudan in 2011.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES -- The oil-rich country of seven emirates says it will reduce the number of diplomats in Iran, recall its ambassador and focus only on business relations. While backing Saudi Arabia, it may have chosen to reduce -- rather than completely sever ties -- because of a long trading history with Iran.

KUWAIT -- The oil-rich country is recalling of its ambassador from Tehran, but it isn't immediately clear how Kuwaiti-Iranian diplomatic ties will be affected. Tiny Kuwait is home to both Shiites and Sunnis living in peace and has the most free-wheeling political system among all Gulf nations.

JORDAN: Overwhelmingly Sunni Jordan is a close ally of Saudi Arabia in the region and a beneficiary of Gulf aid. Jordan's government spokesman, Mohammed Momani, has condemned the attack on the Saudi Embassy in Iran.

EGYPT: Visiting Riyadh on Tuesday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry denounced the attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran and said Iran's behaviour after al-Nimr's execution amounts to "intervening in the kingdom's internal affairs." Cairo has been closely allied with Riyadh since the Egyptian military overthrew an Islamist president in 2013. Riyadh has provided billions in aid to Egypt since then.

THE ARAB LEAGUE: The body denounced the attacks on the diplomatic missions and reminded Iran of the importance of "not interfering in the internal affairs of an Arab nation," according to a statement carried by Egypt's official MENA news agency.

THE MEDIATOR:

OMAN -- The sultanate has long historical ties to Iran and served as the base for secret talks between Iranian and U.S. officials that jump-started the international deal reached on Iran's contested nuclear program.

THOSE BACKING IRAN:

LEBANESE HEZBOLLAH MOVEMENT -- Hezbollah was founded in 1982 with the help of Iran's Revolutionary Guard after Israel invaded Lebanon. The group is one the main Iran-backed factions in the region.

SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR ASSAD -- Iran has been one of the biggest supporters of Syria since the 1980s and has stood by Assad's government in his country's grinding civil war. Saudi Arabia has been one of the biggest backers of those trying to overthrow him.

IRAQ'S SHIITE-LED GOVERNMENT -- Al-Nimr's execution sparked outrage among the country's majority Shiites who have taken to the streets in Baghdad and the south, calling for an end to ties with Saudi Arabia. The Shiite-led government has warmed Riyadh that such executions "would lead to nothing but more destruction."

OTHER REGIONAL ACTORS:

ISRAEL -- Israel considers Iran to be its greatest regional threat because of its nuclear program, its arsenal of long-range missiles, its support of anti-Israel militant groups and its repeated threats to destroy it. While Israel has no direct ties to Saudi Arabia, the countries have a shared concern over Iran's growing influence.

THE PALESTINIANS -- The Palestinian Authority issued a statement after the execution of al-Nimr saying that it stands alongside the Saudis in their fight against "terrorism." The Saudis are the largest donor to the Palestinian Authority in the Arab world, providing them some $200 million annually. The PA, and the Fatah faction that leads it, has had a strained relationship with Iran because of its support of its rival, Hamas.

YEMEN -- The Arab world's poorest country is torn by a civil war pitting its internationally recognized government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, against Shiite rebels known as Houthis, who are supported by Iran.

THOSE URGING CAUTION:

THE UNITED NATIONS -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged Saudi Arabia and Iran to support peace efforts in Syria and Yemen and avoid escalating tensions.

EUROPEAN UNION: The 28-nation bloc, which opposes the death penalty, criticized Saudi Arabia's mass executions and said al-Nimr's case undermined freedom of expression and basic political rights in the kingdom. Since tensions flared between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the EU foreign policy chief has had phone contact with both sides, fearing an escalation would further destabilize the whole region.

THE UNITED STATES -- The White House has urged Saudi Arabia and Iran to not let their dispute derail efforts to end the Syrian civil war. President Barack Obama's administration also hopes to see the Iranian nuclear deal through.

UNITED KINGDOM -- Britain and Iran reopened their respective embassies in 2015, four years after hard-line protesters stormed the British embassy in Tehran. Saudi Arabia is a key diplomatic and economic ally of Britain, though Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood said Britain told the kingdom about its "disappointment at the mass executions."

TURKEY -- Turkey has urged both Saudi Arabia and Iran to ease tensions, saying the Middle East region is "already like a powder keg" and cannot withstand a new crisis.

GERMANY -- Berlin has called on Saudi Arabia and Iran to work to mend their diplomatic ties, while condemning both the mass executions in the kingdom and the storming of the Saudi missions in Iran.

RUSSIA -- State news agency RIA Novosti quoted an unnamed senior diplomat as saying Moscow is ready to act as a mediator between Iran and Saudi Arabia. It's unclear whether Russian officials have made a formal offer to work with the two nations.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Skydiver wearing a wingsuit crashes, dies in California

    World News CTV News
    SAN FRANCISCO -- The skydiver who fell to his death in a California vineyard was wearing a specialized jumpsuit that resembles a flying squirrel and undertaking an extreme but growing sport that can send people soaring through the air at speeds of more than 200 miles per hour (322 kilometres per hour. Source
  • Shocking images show torture, executions by Iraqi soldiers

    World News CTV News
    Warning: This story and the accompanying video include graphic images and descriptions of torture. A photojournalist who embedded with an elite group of Iraqi soldiers has documented point-blank executions and brutal torture of what appear to be civilians. Source
  • Maryland day care worker allegedly recorded herself torturing baby

    World News Toronto Sun
    BALTIMORE — A day care worker in Maryland was captured on video “torturing” an 8-month-old girl who later died, authorities said Thursday. She has been charged with murder. Leah Walden, 23, is charged with murder, assault, child abuse and reckless endangerment in the death of Reese Bowman at Rocket Tiers Learning Center on Tuesday, Baltimore Police said in a statement. Source
  • Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner now a focus of Russia probe [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation. Source
  • Spry woman jumps on hood of SUV to thwart carjacking [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    What would you do if someone tried to steal your vehicle right in front of you? For one Wisconsin resident, the answer is simple: Go all Martin Riggs and jump on its hood. Melissa Smith was the victim of an attempted carjacking while filling up at a gas station in downtown Milwaukee Tuesday afternoon. Source
  • Grits fork over another $30M to keep Canada at F-35 table

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — Canada has quietly paid another $30 million toward development of the F-35 — money that could become insurance in the trade dispute between U.S. aerospace firm Boeing and Canadian rival Bombardier. The annual payment was made to the U.S. Source
  • Annual G7 meeting coming to Quebec next year

    Canada News CBC News
    Canada will play host to next year's meeting of G7 leaders at a remote luxury resort in the Charlevoix region of Quebec, The Canadian Press has learned. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to make the announcement at some point during this year's G7 meetings, which get underway Friday in Sicily. Source
  • Trump administration to appeal latest block to travel ban to U.S. Supreme Court [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban “speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination,” a federal appeals court said Thursday in ruling against the executive order targeting six Muslim-majority countries. Source
  • Nigel Wright broke ethics rules during Duffy affair: Watchdog

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — Former prime minister Stephen Harper’s one-time chief of staff was never prosecuted for his role in Mike Duffy’s Senate expenses fiasco, but now Nigel Wright is getting a belated slap on the wrist from the federal ethics watchdog. Source
  • Security guard suspended after he's caught on video throwing shoes at a homeless man

    Canada News CBC News
    A Toronto security guard has been suspended following the release of a video that appears to show him violently hurling a pair of shoes at a homeless person lingering on Yonge Street this week. Toronto police apologize for 'you're going to get AIDS' comment caught on videoThe quarrel between the pair began just after 8 a.m. Source