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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Mideast tensions soar as Saudi Arabia rallies countries to cut ties with Iran

The Middle East slid dangerously closer to regional conflict Monday after Saudi Arabia rallied its Sunni allies to sever diplomatic ties with Iran, prompting alarmed appeals for restraint from powers across the globe.

Bahrain and Sudan joined Saudi Arabia in cutting off relations with Iran, and the United Arab Emirates, a key Iranian trading partner, recalled its ambassador from Tehran, as the fallout from the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia on Saturday heightened sectarian tensions across the Middle East.

The Obama administration, caught in the middle by its quest for a closer relationship with Iran and its long-standing alliance with Saudi Arabia, said it hoped Tehran and Riyadh would dial back the hostile rhetoric that has fueled the worst crisis between the regional rivals in decades. (READ MORE)