Nawaz Sharif to Visit Tehran Tuesday: Pakistani Minister
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is scheduled to pay an official visit to Tehran next week in an attempt to help mend a rift between Tehran and Riyadh over execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr by the kingdom, a Pakistani minster said.
Pakistani Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid announced on Saturday that Sharif will sit down with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on Tuesday, January 19, AP reported.
He added that the Pakistani premier will visit Riyadh ahead of his trip to Tehran to discuss the diplomatic row with King Salman.
Nawaz Sharif will be accompanied by his country's military chief, General Raheel Sharif, he added.
Tensions ran high between Iran and Saudi Arabia in recent weeks mainly due to Riyadh’s execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, and a subsequent attack by outraged Iranian protesters on the Saudi embassy in Tehran, which resulted in the Arab country’s decision to sever its ties with the Islamic Republic.
On January 2, Saudi Arabia executed Sheikh Nimr, among dozens of others. The move ignited widespread international condemnation, from both political and religious figures.
The next day, furious demonstrators in the Iranian cities of Tehran and Mashhad stormed Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic buildings in protest at the execution of Sheikh Nimr.
Although Iranian officials criticized the embassy attack and police arrested dozens involved, Saudi Arabia cut off diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic.