Iran and Saudi Arabia in row over execution of Shia cleric
The decision makers of the Saudi government should not have any doubt that this blood will trouble them. It will haunt them.- Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
The diplomatic crisis engulfing the Middle East started on the weekend with the execution in Saudi Arabia of a prominent Shia cleric – Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
A rift opened immediately between Saudi Arabia and Iran, whose Shia leadership pronounced that al-Nimr's death would "cost Saudi Arabia dearly."
Soon protesters in Tehran had torched part of the Saudi embassy, while the Saudis themselves retaliated by cutting all diplomatic ties. Tensions have spread through the region, along Sunni and Shia lines, with Bahrain and Sudan similarly severing their diplomatic relations with Iran.
And today, Kuwait has recalled its ambassador to Iran.
Shireen T. Hunter is a Research Professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington.
The tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have roots that go much deeper than this past weekend's execution.
And they go beyond religious differences in a region where both states seek to be the dominant political player.
- Vali Nasr is the dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and the author, a decade ago, of "The Shia Revival".
- Ali Reza Nourizadeh is an Iranian scholar and journalist, and director of the independent Centre for Iranian and Arab Studies in London, England.
This segment was produced by The Current's Karin Marley, Lara O'Brien and Leif Zapf-Gilje.