Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Arab League, meeting in Cairo yesterday, condemned the recent attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran, triggered by Riyadh’s decision to execute 47 "terrorists", including Shia leader Nimr al-Nimr, at the beginning of the year. In the statement issued after an emergency meeting in the Egyptian capital, the ministers of the member countries accused the Iranian authorities of failing to provide protection to the consulate in Mashad and embassy in Tehran.
The majority of the member countries of the Arab League voted for the condemnation of Tehran. Among the few exceptions Lebanon, where Hezbollah has a strong influence (close to Tehran) and Syria, an ally of Iran in and still suspended from the Arab League.
The final document of the meeting yesterday in Cairo - an emergency meeting strongly desired by Riyadh - does not provide specific measures against Iran but does call for the formation of a committee to assess possible actions in the future.
Nabil al-Arabi, the Arab League leader, accuses Tehran of having made "provocative actions" while United Arab Emirates (UAE) Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, claims Iran deliberately fomented sectarian hatred. "[Tehran] does not hesitate - said the senior diplomat - to use the confessional weapon to dominate the region and interfere in the internal affairs of Arab nations addressing threats and giving support to extremist groups".
Iran has responded with outrage and anger at the Arab diplomatic move against it, strongly affirming the view expressed on several occasions in recent days: authorities had no involvement or participation in violent protests that followed the death sentence of Shia leader.
In recent days, several Gulf nations and the Sunni Muslim world have followed the move of the Saudis, breaking diplomatic relations with Iran. On January 7, Iran accused Saudi Arabia of having bombed its diplomatic mission in Yemen, causing structural damage and injuries among embassy staff.
The escalation of tension between Riyadh and Tehran is likely to complicate even more diplomatic efforts in Syria and the limited hopes for peace in a nation battered for the past five years of conflict, which has killed at least 250 thousand people and left more than 11 million displaced.