"Divine Vengeance Will Befall Saudi Arabia," Iran Warns, As Global Outcry Over Execution Grows

Tyler Durden's picture

"The unjustly spilled blood of this oppressed martyr will no doubt soon show its effect and divine vengeance will befall Saudi politicians.”

That rather ominous quote is from Ayatollah Khamenei who was decidedly upset with Saudi Arabia’s execution of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

The Sheikh - who died along with three other Shiites and dozens of suspected al-Qaeda operatives in the largest mass execution carried out by Riyadh in 25 years - was a leading voice in Saudi Arabia’s anti-government movement. He stood accused of sedition, disobedience and bearing arms for his role in the protests which shook the kingdom’s Eastern Province during the Arab Spring. 

News of al-Nimr’s death spread through the Muslim world like wildfire on Saturday as protests broke out from Bahrain to Pakistan.

Here’s the sequence of events courtesy of The Guardian:

  • Saudi Arabia announced it had executed 47 people for terrorism, including the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
  • Iranian government and religious leaders say killing of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr will have serious repercussions.
  • The Shia cleric’s brother calls for calm.
  • Protests in Bahrain turn violent and tear gas is used on those demonstrating.
  • Protests break out in Shia areas of Saudi Arabia, Indian-controlled Kashmir and Pakistan while a prominent Iraqi cleric calls for demonstrations in Gulf countries.
  • Reprieve, Human Rights Watch and various other campaign groups condemn the executions.
  • Fresh concerns are raised for Nimr’s nephew, Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, despite his name not appearing on the executed list.

As the day wore on, the situation escalated in Tehran, reaching a crescendo when angry protesters stormed the Saudi embassy before ultimately firebombing the compound. We documented the drama as it unfolded (see here), but below, find a few more visuals from the scene:

President Hassan Rouhani condemned the attacks as the work of "extremist individuals" while Tehran's police chief confirmed that a number of "unruly elements" had been detained in connection with the ransacking of the embassy. That said, it's probably safe to say that no one in Iran was all that upset to see the building set ablaze as al-Nimr's execution was something of a direct slap in the face to the Shiite community writ large. 

"Nimr, the most vocal critic of the dynasty among the Shi'ite minority, had come to be seen as a leader of the sect's younger activists, who had tired of the failure of older, more measured leaders to achieve equality with Sunnis," Reuters writes adding that al-Nimr's death "appeared to end any hopes that the appearance of a common enemy in the form of the Islamic State militant force would produce some rapprochement between the region's leading Sunni and Shi'ite Muslim powers, allied to opposing sides in wars currently raging in Syria and Yemen." Here's The New York Times:

Sheikh Nimr, said to be in his mid-50s, was from Awamiyah, a poor town surrounded by palm groves in eastern Saudi Arabia and known for opposition to the monarchy.


He studied in Iran and Syria, but rose to prominence for fiery sermons after his return in which he criticized the ruling family and called for Shiite empowerment, even suggesting that Shiites could secede from the kingdom.


This gained him a following mostly among young Shiites who felt discriminated against by Persian Gulf governments. When these young people joined Arab Spring protests in Bahrain and eastern Saudi Arabia in 2011, Sheikh Nimr became a leading figure.


During a sermon in 2012, Sheikh Nimr mocked Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz, who had been the Saudi interior minister and had recently died.


“He will be eaten by worms and suffer the torments of hell in the grave,” Sheikh Nimr said. “The man who made us live in fear and terror; shouldn’t we rejoice at his death?”


Prince Nayef’s son, Mohammed bin Nayef, is now the crown prince and runs the Interior Ministry, which carries out death sentences.


The Saudi authorities arrested Sheikh Nimr in July 2012, while the kingdom was leading a regional push to end the pro-democratic activism of the Arab Spring. These efforts included sending tanks to prop up the Sunni monarchy in Bahrain, which faced protests led by the country’s Shiite majority. Shiites also protested in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province, where many Shiites live and complain of discrimination.

And here's a bit more color from Reuters:

Nimr, executed along with three other Shi'ites and dozens of al Qaeda members, is seen in Iran as the champion of a Shi'ite minority oppressed in Saudi Arabia, and Tehran had made clear that it saw the terrorism charges against him as fabricated.


Iran summoned the Saudi charge d'affaires in Tehran, accusing the kingdom of using terrorism as a pretext to suppress peaceful dissent among Shi'ites, who complain of systemic discrimination.


And the website of Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, carried a picture of a Saudi executioner next to notorious Islamic State executioner 'Jihadi John', with the caption "Any differences?".


The fact that both Saudi Arabia and Iran face a powerful threat to their interests from the radical jihadist group, which has seized large parts of Syria and Iraq, appeared at the end of 2014 to be promoting a tentative reconciliation.


But since then, the political and economic tensions have been piling up.


Already backing opposing sides in Syria's civil war, they also found themselves backing rival groups in Saudi Arabia's impoverished neighbour Yemen, where Iran supports another minority Shi'ite group, the Houthis, who drove out the Saudi-backed government.



Economic rivalry has also come to the fore since Iran signed a nuclear deal with world powers in July that Saudi Arabia had urged its long-standing ally and protector, the United States, to block.

Yes, no hope a "common enemy" in ISIS will "produce some rapproachement" between Sunni and Shiite powers. Of course it also didn't help that the Saudis left Shiite Iran and Shiite Iraq out of a new, 34-nation anti-terror "coalition", nor does it help that Riyadh promotes and promulgates the very same ideology as that espoused by ISIS and al-Qaeda. 

Iraq - which, as we've documented extensively, is for all intents and purposes an Iranian colony - was displeased as well. Here's Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani: "We have received with much sorrow and regret the news of the martyrdom of a number of our brother believers in the region whose pure blood was shed in an unjust aggression." And here's PM Haider Abadi:

On Sunday, the protests continued as hundreds gathered in front of the charred Saudi embassy in Tehran while protesters also massed at the UN building and Riyadh's embassy in Beirut ahead of a speech by Hassan Nasrallah. As AP reports, "the road the embassy sits on in northern Tehran saw a new street sign come up in recent hours. Instead of saying "Boustan" or "park" in Farsi, it now reads "Sheikh Nimr St." in honor of the Shiite cleric that Saudi Arabia executed on Saturday."

So, to the extent Riyadh thought the execution of a few dozen purported al-Qaeda operatives would prove that the kingdom is serious about fighting the very same type of extremism it promotes, the exact opposite has occurred. That is, the executions have simply provided further evidence that the Saudis, like Islamic State, have no qualms about beheading "criminals" without any semblance of due process. 

"Nimr's execution risks exacerbating sectarian tensions at a time when they urgently need to be reduced," the US State Department said of the Sheikh's death. While that is most assuredly an accurate assessment, the idea that Washington is concerned about fanning the flames of sectarian violence is laughable. Recall the following excerpt from a leaked diplomatic cable outlining what America's strategy should be in Syria: 

PLAY ON SUNNI FEARS OF IRANIAN INFLUENCE:  There are fears in Syria that the Iranians are active in both Shia proselytizing and conversion of, mostly poor, Sunnis.  Though often exaggerated, such fears reflect an element of the Sunni community in Syria that is increasingly upset by and focused on the spread of Iranian influence in their country through activities ranging from mosque construction to business. Both the local Egyptian and Saudi missions here, (as well as prominent Syrian Sunni religious leaders), are giving increasing attention to the matter and we should coordinate more closely with their governments on ways to better publicize and focus regional attention on the issue. 

Finally, we would note once again that just about the last thing the Saudis need is a Shiite uprising just as a move to cut subsidies on everything from fuel to water threatens to destabilize a populace that's become accustomed to a relatively comfortable way of life under the oil-rich monarchy.

We close with the following image which appeared on the Ayatollah's webpage:

*  *  *

Full statement from Khamenei

Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, at the start of his course to clerics at the post-jurisprudence level on Sunday morning, strongly condemned Saudi Arabia’s major crime in martyring the pious and innocent scholar, Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr. Underscoring the necessity for the international community to feel responsibility vis-à-vis this crime and similar crimes committed by the Saudi regime in Yemen and Bahrain, Ayatollah Khamenei noted: “Doubtlessly, this innocent martyr’s blood, which was spilled unjustly, will quickly show its effect and the divine vengeance will befall the Saudi politicians.” 

Ayatollah Khamenei added: “This innocent scholar had neither incited people to take up arms nor had he hatched any covert plot, and the only activity he did was open criticism [of the Saudi regime] and ordering good and prohibiting vice, which stemmed from his religious zeal and fervor.”   

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution described Sheikh Nimr’s martyrdom and the unjust spilling of his blood as a political mistake made by the Saudi government, saying: “The Almighty God shall not ignore the innocents’ blood and the unjustly spilled blood will backfire on the politicians and the executives of this regime very quickly.”

Strongly criticizing the silence of the self-proclaimed advocates of freedom, democracy and human rights, and their support for the Saudi regime, who spills the blood of the innocent only for criticism and protest, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “The Muslim world and the entire world must feel responsible towards this issue.”

Ayatollah Khamenei also mentioned the harassment and torture of Bahraini people by the Saudi military forces and the destruction of their houses and mosques as well as more than 10 months of bombing of the Yemeni civilians as other examples of the Saudi regime’s crimes, noting: “Those who honestly care for the future of humanity and the fate of human rights and justice must pursue these issues and should not remain indifferent vis-à-vis this situation.”

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution also stated: “Definitely, Martyr Sheikh Nimr will avail himself of the Grace of God and without a doubt the divine vengeance will befall the oppressors, who encroached upon his life and this is the same thing that will be a cause of consolation.” 

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-.-'s picture
"Divine Vengeance Will Befall Saudi Arabia,"


Yes,  more of this.

knukles's picture

Why can't they all get along?
         maniacal laughter

Dame Ednas Possum's picture

Follow the sandal!

No! Follow the gourd!

FireBrander's picture

Holy turdbuckets...I'm rooting for Iran.

Only met one "Iranian" in my life, a woman, I was impressed. If she's the "typical Iranian", then someones' been lyen to mees about Iran...


y3maxx's picture

...Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimrz's execution will be remembered as "the event that broke the camel's back".

No pun intended.

Coming....tit for tat.

Who's next?



aint no fortunate son's picture

We sure do have a knack for siding up with the fucking winners! I wonder why that is????

847328_3527's picture

Saudis will need a Safe Space looks like.

JRobby's picture

Means to an end

Fastest path to WWIII

Escrava Isaura's picture



aint no fortuna...: I wonder why that is????


Well, wonder NO more:

"Examine the religious principles, in fact, that they are anything but sick men's dreams" —David Hume



logicalman's picture

"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." -- Lucius Annaeus Seneca

NoVa's picture

Achmed Franz Fernanand Ali Yak Yak Yak ?


LasVegasDave's picture

If you like your head, you can keep your head!

-Bobby Wahabi

Escrava Isaura's picture



I find pretty amazing the Christians Hedgers —I am making an assumption, correctly or wrong, that a great number, perhaps, the majority here are Christians— passion on commenting about the Muslims.

Once, in fact, that Muslim can’t stand Christians as well.

Again, don't take my word for it: Check this exchange between Jay Smith vs. Dr. Shabir Ally. These two are obvious very bright and knowledgeable of each other's religion. It’s long but it is a must watch.



For the ones that want to download YouTube and hear it while driving:



MopWater's picture

I fear you mistake ZHers caring about the events in the ME surrounding Islam as caring about Islam and the schisms and events regarding Islam.

I may be mistaken, but I believe most passion comes from finally seeing the Saudi bastards (and by proxy the US and possibly Israel) pay for the lies and deceit that has flowed from the region for decades, all of it supported either tacitly or with full gusto by TPTB on either side of the asile.

We want peace, and it seems that Haus Saud is the one method in which terrorism can be supported without an eye being batted.

Escrava Isaura's picture



Unfortunately, the last paragraph of your post doesn’t reflect America history. As well as the Middle East.


Also, if you look at things one at a time, you might not realize how dire is our situation. You need to step back to get a broader perspective.


The Myth of Human Progress and the Collapse of Complex Societies




SgtShaftoe's picture

Let me tell you something really scary.  I have a couple work friends that are muslim.  (GASP!!)  They're just people like everybody else just trying to do the best they can for their kids and family.  Muslims and Christians have lived side by side in the same neigborhoods for thousands of years in peace.  That's the norm.  These wack jobs that are the product of western supported totalitarian regimes, though predictable have little else in common with 95% of the normal muslims other than one of the same books on their bookshelf.

I'm cheering for the Iranians.  They are some of the nicest and welcoming people you'd ever meet. 

logicalman's picture

Where I work is pretty diverse - Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Atheist - Indian, Philipino, Trinidadian, Italian, German, Brit, Canadian. We all get along and often take the piss out of the stereotypes we are all supposed to fit into.

Have to agree with  'wack jobs that are a product of western supported totalitarian regimes'


FireBrander's picture

All religions can "live together" as long as they disobey their "God". I know Muslims too, they're not scary at all, but they don't "live by the Quran" any more than MOST Christians live by the Bible...it's all "God's Word" and "Would Jesus do that?" until it interferes with PERSONAL WANT; then it's "fuck that".

Escrava Isaura's picture



“In times of stress the genes assume control and reason disappear.” — Reg Morrison 




JRobby's picture

It is ALL just crowd control since forever

Christian vs Muslim

Capitalist vs Communist

Liberal vs Conservative

Dem vs Repub




RiverRoad's picture

Archduke Ferdinand?

boattrash's picture

Bingo! My exact thought.

Russia + Iran   Vs.   U.S. + Saudi

JustObserving's picture

Saudi Arabia has been a corrupt, criminal, cabal for decades that has spread war, terror and mayhem.  Karma is a bitch.

Saudi Arabia has gotten off lightly for all the wars and mayhem it has caused in this world.  100 attacks on hospitals in Yemen by Saudi Arabia and the free and fair American press has been bought off:

Yemen hospitals ‘deliberately’ targeted in 100 attacks since March – ICRC

Medical facilities in war-torn Yemen are being ‘deliberately’ attacked, with some 100 incidents reported since the Saudi-led coalition began airstrikes in March, the International Committee of the Red Cross said, calling on all sides to cease hostilities.

Here is a partial list of Saudi Arabia's other crimes in Yemen (as of July 20, 2015 - deaths today exceed 6000):

At least 3,500 have been killed as a result of the Saudi-led war, launched on March 26 of this year. Some 1,700 of these have been confirmed as civilians, according to the UN, with some 3,800 more civilians confirmed wounded.

Nearly 80 percent of the Yemeni population faces conditions of starvation, near starvation, and/or lack of reliable access to drinking water.

More than 1.2 million Yemenis have been forced to flee their homes by the war. At least 50,000 of the displaced have fled the country entirely, seeking refuge in neighboring countries of Oman, Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan.

Responsibility for the bloodshed and humanitarian disaster in Yemen lies squarely with Saudi Arabia, the other Gulf monarchies and their backers in Washington. 



Yemen is now the world’s worst humanitarian crisis


R.R.Raskolnikov's picture

Don't forget about their hypocrite royal family. Throwing big parties, boose, women, drugs and farting in people their face... With such a regime peculair things happen...

Free_Spirit's picture

Sounds like a weekend with Hillary and Bill... 

R.R.Raskolnikov's picture

Aha,... H&B fart in the faces of the royals and get millions of dollars paid. The media calles it speeches.

Sanity Bear's picture

"speeches" are just cover for what is pretty much blatant bribe taking

FireBrander's picture

"seeking refuge in neighboring countries of...Somalia and Sudan"

AND GUESS WHAT! From those countries, thanks to CATHOLIC CHARITIES, they COME TO THE USA!

"About 190 workers, most of them immigrants from Somalia, have been fired from a Colorado meat packing plant after walking off the job during a dispute over workplace prayer."



MopWater's picture

Oh trust me, the Lutherans are more than happy to ship them in too.

East Indian's picture

Karma is not a bitch; it is not divine, nor mystic or superstition. It is a set of laws of a mixture of social psychology and economics. Buddhism does not acknowledge any God, but it accepts karma.

When a person encourages an injustice against someone, (s)he becomes inured to the idea of injustice. This will slowly poison that person's other thoughts, and soon that person will be inflicting injustice on his own family. This is a very counter-intuitive point, but can be seen in empirical evidence. Similarly, beneficial acts and thoughts will slowly make that person benevolent to everybody. Such behaviours spread in a society. In sociology, these are called, "virtuous cycle" and "vicious cycle". The American elite, once they sanction acts such as those of ISIS in Syria, will not mind it to be unleashed on the American strangers. Themselves setting mercenaries on Syrian people, it will make their minds used to the idea of using mercenaries against a population they do not like. Therefore, they wont be outraged, they cannot feel empathy when a similar mercenery killer mob descends on their fellow citizens. This is karma. It hardens one's heart, and that leads slowly to destruction.

Karma is probablistic, not deterministic. If no one steals bicycles in a city, you can leave your bicycle unlocked; chances are it wont be stolen. If most of us lend a hand to accident victims, chances are someone will lend a hand to us if we meet with an accident. It is not 100% certain, but the probability goes up.

That is karma. And applying it on the American elite who knowingly support Saudi, Qatar and Turkey, who in turn support ISIS, will lead you to disturbing conclusions.

In the current case, the Shiite preacher tried to point out the mistakes of the rulers. Instead of looking at those issues, the rulers have killed him; this will certainly deter anyone from giving any frank advise to the rulers. That will slowly ruing them. You dont need any violent reprisal; karma will slowly do its job.

JustObserving's picture

A very interesting discourse on karma.

Karma only exists when you are identified with form as virtually all people are.  After Self-Realization, there is no karma as no concepts survive - not even the concept of the person. So, in the ultimate analysis, karma is only a mind-made concept.

I use karma as a synonym for blowback in day to day conversations though it has some religious connotations.  It's just poetic license. Blowback is a bitch is so mundane though more alliterative.

andrewp111's picture

So what. Most people manage for years under conditions of near starvation without actually dying. Only 3500 dead out of many millions isn't really all that much. Stop complaining and let them keep on fighting.

Iwanttoknow's picture

Fuck crypto jews.

nmewn's picture

My Sharia Law is better than your Sharia Law, so so so...there! Take that!!!

Cautiously Pessimistic's picture

Oh yeah?  Well, well.... my mohamed can beat your mohamed up....  So, na na!  Put that in your hookah pipe and smoke it....

nmewn's picture

The Iranian mullahs have some catching up to do, they've only had 17 public executions in three days...


...it's like a Sharia Law Body Bag Race or sumpin.

RiverRoad's picture

Hey, pretty soon ther'll be none of them left!

nmewn's picture

Well, TBT's wife is an Iranian ex-pat and no doubt has family still there, so lets hope not ;-)

FireBrander's picture

Guys, don't cha see it? That's the solution to the ME "terror" problem...PIT THEM AGAINST EACH OTHER!

They'll spend the next 1000 years butchering each other over whose interpretation of the "religious documents" is "correct".

upWising's picture

"My dominus cost more than yours did!" 

Let the Congregation say AMEN.

Element's picture

A giant version of Northern Ireland, only much better armed and far more 'religiously' crazy.

'Religiously crazy' ... what a concept. But isn't it funny how the most vile acts on earth keep happening in the most religiously pious countries and cultures? What do you suppose is going on there mate? Not nearly enough Godliness yet ya think?  Maybe they up the dose to 6 mandatory prayer prostration sessions a day, make the bastards too tired to cut each others head off?  Declare the Koran a terrorist training manual?  Torah too?

nmewn's picture

I think the Ayatollah should put every Sunni in the country on a No-Fly list and impose mandatory background checks at those damned Dagger Show's immediately!

There's no reason for someone on a No-Fly list to be able to get a dagger so easily, it's just insane! ;-)

Element's picture

bbwwaahaahahhhaahah!    haaha ..

Thank you

btw those are dirka dirkas

Winston Churchill's picture

The grudges have only benn formenting in Northern Ireland for 400 years.

Rank amateurs in comparison.Pleny of gas being poured onto what were dying embers

by Israel and Uncle Scam.Funny how the sectarian divide started to become a chasm around

the same time Israel was created.

new game's picture

religiously crazed, ha, i think u r getting to the core of the issue.

the brainwashing from birth of beliefs passed on and not questioned seem to be the simple truth.

but do these people even have the ability to see objectivly  wtf they doing? ha, i think not, because the majority will keep doing as they - hate, revenge, the cycle that ferment violence.

ongoing brainwash, cog dis on steroids...

FireBrander's picture

"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

'I am driven with a mission from God'. God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did." "And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East'. And, by God, I'm gonna do it." - Goerge W. Bush.