Jordan latest Arab country to recall envoy from Iran

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Cairo, April 18 (IANS) Jordan on Monday recalled its ambassador to Iran over what it described as Tehran’s interference in Arab affairs.

Jordan is the latest Arab country to recall its envoy after Saudi Arabia cut its diplomatic ties with Tehran following attacks on its mission in Tehran during protests against the Saudi execution of a prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

There was no official response yet from Iran to the Jordanian move.

On January 2, Saudi Arabia executed Nimr al-Nimr along with 46 others over terror charges.

The execution sparked protests in Shia-dominated Iran, where angry mobs stormed and set ablaze Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran and its consulate in the city of Mashhad.

A day later, Saudi Arabia announced it was severing its diplomatic ties with Iran, and asked all Iranian diplomats to leave the country within 48 hours.

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“After attacks on Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran, we urged Iran to stop interference in Arab affairs, but we did not see any response from Iran even to calls by the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation not to interfere in regional issues,” Jordan’s Minister of State for Media Affairs Mohammad Momani said on Monday.

Jordan decided to recall its envoy to Iran to revaluate the situation in light of the ongoing developments, he added.

Jordan hopes that Iran would work on building cooperation and trust with the Arab countries and respect the sovereignty of the Arab states and not interfere in their affairs, Momani said.

Earlier this year, Bahrain and Sudan also announced the severance of diplomatic relations with Iran, citing Tehran’s intervention in Arab affairs, which they said became clearer after the execution of Nimr al-Nimr.

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“Bahrain has decided to end diplomatic relations with Iran because of its continuous interference in the affairs of Saudi Arabia, and also of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council),” a Bahraini official statement said at the time.

Bahrain also asked the Iranian diplomats to leave the country within 48 hours.

Sudan expelled the Iranian ambassador in Khartoum and the whole Iranian diplomatic mission. It also recalled its envoy from Tehran.

Sudan also condemned what it sees as Iranian interference in the Arab region and inaction to protect the Saudi embassy and consulate in Iran.

At a less tense level, the UAE had decided to downgrade its diplomatic ties with Iran and reduce the number of Iranian diplomats in the country.

The UAE foreign ministry said it recalled its ambassador to Iran Saif Al Zaabi in support of Saudi Arabia.

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This step was taken “in the light of continued Iranian intervention in the internal affairs of the Gulf and the Arab world” that recently reached unprecedented levels, the statement added.

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