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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Iran raises tensions with lies about Saudi attack on embassy in Yemen

Via Foreign Policy magazine:  On Thursday, Iran accused the Saudi-led coalition carrying out airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen of intentionally hitting the Iranian embassy in Sanaa, the capital, injuring embassy guards and damaging property. Gen. Ahmed Asseri, a spokesman for the Saudi coalition, said Iran’s accusations would be investigated. 
 “This deliberate and intentional act by the Saudi Arabian government is in violation of all international conventions and legal treaties regarding the protection and impunity of diplomatic compounds under all circumstances,” the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman told state-run media.
News reports have cast doubt on Iran’s version of the events. Reuters reported that residents and witnesses could see no damage to the embassy, located in the city’s Hadda district. Witnesses said an airstrike had hit a city square around 700 yards from the embassy, with some shrapnel falling around the building. A reporter for the Associated Press visited the embassy after the alleged airstrike and did not see any damage. 
The Sanaa incident marked the fifth day of escalating tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. On Saturday, Saudi Arabia beheaded Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a Shiite cleric accused of fomenting terrorism who was executed along with 46 others also convicted of terror-related crimes. Al-Nimr’s execution drew criticism from around the world, including from the U.N. and the United States. After the execution, Iranian protesters ransacked part of the Saudi embassy in Tehran, whereupon Saudi Arabia, along with Bahrain, Djibouti, and Sudan, cut ties with Iran, while other Saudi allies downgraded relations. Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran have long vied for influence across the region, with the conflict in Yemen widely seen as a proxy war between the two powers.

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