Iran, Saudi Arabia Step Up War of Words Over Executed Shiite Cleric

APTOPIX Mideast Iran Saudi Arabia
AP

Flames and smoke poured out of Saudi Arabia's embassy in Iran on Sunday amid a mounting backlash to the kingdom's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric, NBC News reported.

Saudi Arabia announced Saturday that 47 prisoners had been executed — including Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. The news sparked fears of sectarian violence and deepening tensions between two bitter rivals: Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite powerhouse Iran.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded with fury to the execution, calling it a "huge crime" that Saudi Arabia will face "divine revenge" for.

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