Saudi Arabia Bans Flights, Travel To Iran

Over the weekend, a series of dramatic events stemming from Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr plunged the Mid-East further into chaos.

The torching of the Saudi embassy in Tehran prompted Riyadh to cut diplomatic ties with the Iranians and on Monday, Bahrain quickly followed while the UAE recalled its ambassador.

Now, the stage is set for a full blown sectarian showdown complete with protests by oppressed Shiites in the Gulf states, anti-Sunni sentiment in Iran and Iraq, and, in a worst case scenario, a direct (as opposed to a proxy) conflict between the Saudis and the Iranians.

This morning, the headlines surrounding the turmoil are coming fast and furious and in the latest escalation, the Saudi foreign ministry says the kingdom will now cut all commercial ties with Iran.

According to Reuters, all flights to and from Iran will be stopped and Saudi citizens will be banned from traveling to the country.

  • All commercial ties with Iran being cut off, Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel Al-Ahmad Al-Jubeir said, Reuters tweeted.
  • Citizens banned from traveling to Iran
  • Severing of ties comes after years of aggression; Iranian pilgrims welcome in Saudi Arabia, Al-Jubeir said, according to Al-Arabiya tweets of comments on Reuters

Apprently, the Saudis are set to use the embassy fire and the protests at the consulate in Mashhad as an excuse to reapply the "pariah state" label to Tehran just as the lifting of international sanctions was set to usher in a fresh start for relations between the West, its regional allies, and the Iranians.