Saudi Arabia is severing diplomatic ties with Iran amid spiking tensions over the execution of a prominent Saudi Shiite cleric. Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir said late Sunday evening that Iranian diplomatic personnel had 48 hours to leave the country and all Saudi diplomatic personnel in Iran were being recalled home. Demonstrators in Tehran broke into the Saudi Embassy early Sunday morning to protest the execution of Shiekh Nimr al-Nimr, a leader of the country's Shiite minority. Iranian officials harshly condemned the execution, with Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei saying that Saudi Arabia would face "divine revenge."
Earlier, the US State Department called on the Iranian government to protect the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and on both Saudi Arabia and Iran to avoid escalating regional Sunni-Shiite tensions. And Hassan Nasralla, leader of Hezbollah, strongly condemned Saudi Arabia for executing al-Nimr. The ultraconservative Sunni kingdom and Shiite powerhouse Iran have waged a bitter struggle for regional power for years. The two countries each back opposing sides in civil wars in Yemen and in Syria. (Read more Saudi Arabia stories.)