Saudi Arabia will pay “a high price” for executing prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr on Saturday, Iran’s foreign ministry said. Ministry spokesperson Hossein Jaber Ansari strongly condemned the execution, which came after his Shia country repeatedly asked its Sunni-ruled rival to pardon the cleric.
“The Saudi government supports terrorist movements and extremists, but confronts domestic critics with oppression and execution… the Saudi government will pay a high price for following these policies,” he said, quoted by the official IRNA news agency.
Nimr, 56, was a driving force of the protests that broke out in 2011 in Eastern Province, where the Shia minority of Saudi Arabia complains of marginalisation.
“The execution of a figure like Sheikh al-Nimr, who had no means to follow his political and religious goals but through speaking out, merely shows the extent of irresponsibility & imprudence,” said Ansari.