Saudi Arabia-Iran Tensions Flare

The conflict between Saudi Arabia, which escalated quickly after Iranian protesters angry about executions by the Saudi government set fire to Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran, is spreading. Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran on Jan. 3, after the embassy attack, and on Jan. 4, Bahrain and Sudan also cut diplomatic relations with Iran, the Washington Post reported. The United Arab Emirates said it was “downgrading” diplomatic relations with Iran, and the Saudi Press Agency reported that the UAE ambassador had been sent home from Tehran. “This exceptional step has been taken in light of Iran’s continuous interference in the internal affairs of Gulf and Arab states, which has reached unprecedented levels,” the UAE’s statement read, according to the Saudi Press Agency. White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters in Washington, D.C., there is more that “all sides” can do to smooth the rift, and urged Iran and Saudi Arabia “to show restraint and not further inflame tensions that are on quite vivid display in the region,” the Washington Post reported.