Ban Ki-Moon Asks Saudi and Iran to Ease Tensions

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UN chief Ban Ki-moon has expressed his concern over the severed ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia, following the latter’s execution of the Shiite cleric Nimr-al Nimr. He has urged both parties to avoid actions that could worsen the relationship between the two countries. The Secretary General has telephoned Saudi Foreign Minister Abel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

While reiterating that the attack on Saudi Embassy in Tehran was deplorable, he said the announcement of a break in Saudi diplomatic ties with Iran was deeply worrying. Mr. Ban has also clearly expressed his opposition against capital punishments and the execution of the cleric, whose case he has raised several times with the Saudi leadership.

“Al-Nimr and a number of the others executed “had been convicted following trials that raised serious concerns over the nature of the charges and the fairness of the process,” a statement by his spokesman said on Saturday. The UN chief has also requested Saudi Arabia to renew its commitment to a ceasefire, according to a readout provided by his office of the two phone calls.