U.S sailors released by Iran

 
 
  • Iran's Revolutionary Guards have released 10 U.S sailors that were detained on Tuesday, along with their two naval crafts. +

  • The sailors went missing as they made their way from Kuwait to Bahrain. 

  • Speaking on CBS News, Vice President Joe Biden said that the United States did not apologise to Iran for the incident nor did Iran ask for an apology. 

  • Mr. Biden said Iran realised the sailors were in 'distress' and had delivered on their word to release them - it was, he claimed, 'standard nautical practice'. 

  • In a statement, Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his 'gratitude' to Iran and said the issue was resolved 'peacefully and efficiently'. *


As it unfolds: Saudi Arabia executes prominent Shiite cleric, escalating tensions with Iran

 
 

Saudi Arabia executed 47 people on Friday

  • Among them was a prominent Shiite cleric, accused of terror offences.

Iran led the condemnation of the killing

  • Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Saudi Arabia would face 'divine revenge' for executing Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr - the Saudi embassy in Tehran was stormed by protesters over the weekend. *

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran

  • On Sunday, Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry said it had ordered all Iranian diplomatic personnel to leave the country within 48 hours. *

Allies of Saudi Arabia also acted against Iran

  • Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates were among the kingdom's regional allies who took varying diplomatic actions against Tehran. 

Iran accused Saudi coalition of hitting its embassy in Sanaa

  • Tehran claimed an airstrike damaged its embassy in the Yemeni capital, although some reports question the accuracy of the Iranian's complaint. 

Deputy crown prince gives interview to The Economist

  • Saudi Arabia's deputy crown prince and defence minister, Muhammad bin Salman, has given an interview to The Economist. 
  • Mr. bin Salman defended the execution of 47 prisoners last weekend and insisted the court that convicted them did not make a distinction between whether a person was Sunni or Shiite. 

  • The deputy crown prince said Saudi Arabia did not want a war with Iran, saying it would be a ' a major catastrophe' for the Middle East. 


Middle East tensions: Kuwait recalls ambassador from Tehran

  • Kuwait recalled its ambassador to Tehran on Tuesday, becoming the latest ally of Saudi Arabia to take diplomatic action against Iran following the storming of the Saudi embassy over the weekend. 
  • The crisis was sparked by the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shiite cleric, over the weekend for alleged terror offences.  

  • Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Saudi Arabia would face 'divine revenge' for the killing. 

  • Yesterday, UN chief Ban-Ki moon called on Iran and Saudi Arabia to avoid any actions that could further exacerbate the situation. +

The regional response

 
 

Human rights experts call on Iran to release Washington Post journalist

  • The detention of Jason Rezaian, who was arrested in July 2014 and went on trial on charges that included espionage in May, 'violates basic rules' and has seen him suffer 'unlawful treatment' according to UN Special Rapporteur David Kaye and human rights expert Seong-Phil Hong. 

The UN experts noted that Mr. Rezaian, who is being held at Evin Prison in Tehran, was placed in solitary confinement for five months and subjected to full-day interrogation sessions that caused significant physical and psychological strain.

The conditions at Evin Prison have resulted in Rezaian’s dramatic weight loss, respiratory problems, and chronic infections.