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5 Jan, 2016 08:53

Kuwait recalls ambassador, Bahrain halts all flights to & from Iran over Saudi mission attack

Kuwait recalls ambassador, Bahrain halts all flights to & from Iran over Saudi mission attack

Kuwait has become the latest Muslim nation to renounce ties with Iran after it recalled its ambassador to Tehran, following the Islamic Republic's rift with Saudi Arabia. Also Bahrain has announced it has halted all flights to and from Iran, Bahrain News Agency reported.

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The state-run Kuwait News Agency reported the news. A source at the Foreign Ministry blasted Iran for its alleged violations of the commitment to provide security to diplomatic missions – an accusation Iran has always refuted.

Kuwait’s move is the latest in a series of decisions taken by those siding with Saudi Arabia in its fall-out with Iran – a situation which began after the execution by Riyadh of a prominent Shia cleric, along with 46 other people. This was followed by condemnation by Iran, and later by angry Iranian protesters storming the Saudi Embassy in Tehran.

This led to an international outcry over Iran’s alleged unwillingness to ensure the safety of diplomatic missions on its soil.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has issued a statement on the latest developments, condemning Saudi Arabia's actions.

"Saudi Arabia cannot hide its crime of beheading a religious leader by severing political relations with Iran," Rouhani was quoted by Reuters as saying, citing IRNA, after a meeting with Danish Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen in Tehran.

"We believe diplomacy and negotiations are the best way to solve problems between countries," Rouhani added. “Regional countries can save the region of terrorism dangers through unity.”

The move by Kuwait follows the decision by Bahrain and Sudan to sever all diplomatic ties with Iran, and by the United Arab Emirates to limit the number of Iranian diplomats allowed within its borders.

Sudan has now given Iranian diplomats two weeks to leave the country, AP reports. This comes a day after Khartoum informed Riyadh of its solidarity with Saudi Arabia on the Iranian matter and announced the expulsion of Iran's ambassador.

The international community has been urging both sides to attempt to de-escalate the situation, among them Russia, who offered to act as a neutral mediator between the two.

The same suggestion was made by France.

The escalating dispute between Iran and Saudi Arabia could derail all efforts at solving the problem of Syria, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told BILD in an interview on Tuesday. He expressed a wish that both sides would focus urgently on solving their differences and then on working together to find political solutions to the crises in Syria and Yemen. The region, he said, requires Tehran and Riyadh to be “responsible players”.