Officials in Saudi Arabia carried out the mass execution of 47 people charged with terrorism this weekend. Across 12 cities on Saturday, the individuals were either beheaded or shot by firing squads. The actions have caused tensions in the region to rise, particularly with Iran. Many of the individuals executed were said to be members of al Qaeda, but the death of a prominent Shi’ite cleric named Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr caused an uproar in Iran. Shortly after, Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Iran was stormed and burned by protestors.
In response, Saudi Arabia has demanded that all diplomats from Iran leave the country within 48 hours. Since then, both countries have ramped up the rhetoric against each other. At a press conference, the Saudi foreign minister said, “Iran’s history is full of negative interference and hostility in Arab issues, and it is always accompanied by destruction. Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei took to Twitter, writing, “Iranian nation must act against enemy’s will and punch at enemy’s mouth.”