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    Protesters holding posters of Saudi Shi'ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr and a Bahraini national flag protest against his execution by Saudi authorities in the village of Sanabis, west of Manama, Bahrain January 3, 2016

    Saudi-Iran Confrontation to Impede Syria Peace Process - Former US Diplomat

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    Mass Execution in Saudi Arabia Whips Up Tensions (108)
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    Escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran will hinder the Syrian reconciliation process, but are unlikely to affect the implementation of the P5+1 countries’ nuclear deal with Tehran, former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Robert Jordan told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Saturday, demonstrators in Iran, protesting the execution by Saudi Arabia of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others, attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran and the consulate in Mashhad. Following the attack, Saudi Arabia announced it would sever diplomatic ties with Iran.

    "It will seriously impede the Syrian peace process," Jordan told Sputnik on Monday. "The Saudi and Iranian representatives could hardly bear to be in the same room before this clash, and it is even less likely that they will be willing to negotiate at present."

    Efforts to end the civil war in Syria, Jordan noted, depend on Saudi and Iranian participation which is not likely to occur for a while.

    However, Jordan added, tensions between Riyadh and Tehran are unlikely to impact the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, notwithstanding Saudi objections, because the P5+1 group of countries are too invested in the agreement.

    The Saudis may argue to abrogate the nuclear deal in light of Iran’s missile development activities, Jordan explained, but there is little likelihood that the parties will want to walk away from it.

    On Monday, US Department of State spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that Saudi-Iranian tensions should not have a negative impact on the Syrian peace process.

    White House said on Monday the United States was concerned with the worsening human rights situation in Saudi Arabia and would condemn any country that is carrying out mass executions.

    Robert Jordan is former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Diplomat-in-Residence at Southern Methodist University, and author of “Desert Diplomat: Inside Saudi Arabia Following 9/11.”

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    Mass Execution in Saudi Arabia Whips Up Tensions (108)

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