Riyadh: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday decided to downgrade its diplomatic relations with Iran to that of charge d’ affaires-level and to require a reduction in the number of Iranian diplomats stationed in the UAE. A foreign affairs ministry statement said that Saif Al Zaabi, the UAE Ambassador in Tehran, has been summoned home, in accordance with this decision.
“This exceptional step has been taken in the light of Iran’s continuous interference in the internal affairs of Gulf and Arab states, which has reached unprecedented levels,” the statement said. The ministry statement emphasised that positive and natural relations between states should be based on mutual respect for the sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs.
On Saturday, the Saudi interior ministry announced that prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr and 46 other men were executed on terror charges. Earlier in the day, Bahrain, a key Saudi ally, said it followed Riyadh to cut its diplomatic ties with Iran and gave all Iranian diplomats 48 hours to leave the country.
On Sunday, the UAE summoned Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Reza Fayyad to protest at Iran’s “interference” in Saudi Arabia’s affairs and the attacks on the headquarters of the Saudi diplomatic missions in Tehran and Mashhad.