Saudi Arabia’s execution of high-profile Shiite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr on terrorism charges on 2 January 2016 has had significant political and diplomatic consequences for the region; exacerbated sectarian tensions and caused further divisions along Sunni-Shia lines.

Angry Iranians in Tehran stormed and set fire to the Saudi Arabian Embassy on the evening of al-Nimr’s execution and Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that Saudi Arabia would face “divine revenge” for what he claimed was the killing of an “oppressed scholar” who opposed Saudi’s ruling family.

The ensuing political and diplomatic actions from both sides have sharply degraded relations between the two regional powers with many diplomats saying that relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran are at their lowest point in recent memory.

With this geopolitical rivalry continuing to dominate and shape the Middle East’s future, this latest Worldview from Drum Cussac looks at the immediate and future implications for the region.

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