The rift between Iran and its neighbors in the Arab world deepened on Monday as Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) joined Saudi Arabia in rolling back diplomatic ties with Tehran.
Bahrain and Sudan cut their relations entirely, while the UAE recalled its ambassador from Iran and downgraded its diplomatic efforts.
The developments send ominous signs that a sectarian-tinged divide between Iran and other countries in the region is growing, in a potential roadblock for international cooperation.
The diplomatic limits come as part of an increasing fallout for Iran’s reaction to the Saudi execution of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr this weekend.
After that execution in Saudi Arabia, Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran and a consulate in the city of Marshhad, breaking furniture, smashing windows and setting fire to some facilities.
Iran is responsible for a “blatant and dangerous intervention” in the affairs of Arab nations, Bahrain’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.
Actions against Saudi diplomatic facilities “constitute a flagrant violation of both international conventions and treaties,” Bahrain added, and embody "the very dangerous sectarian policies that cannot be ignored or accepted.”
Bahrain ordered Iranian diplomats to leave its kingdom within 48 hours.
Sudan’s foreign ministry, meanwhile, called the actions in Iran “barbaric.”
The UAE downgraded its representation in Iran and ordered Tehran to cut back the number of diplomats in the Persian Gulf nation.
''This exceptional step has been taken in the light of Iran's continuous interference in the internal affairs of Gulf and Arab states, which has reached unprecedented levels,'' the UAE foreign ministry said.
Saudi Arabia cut off its diplomatic ties to Iran on Sunday.
The growing rift poses troubles for the Obama administration, which has struggled to spur Iran to engage with the rest of the world, even while signing a major diplomatic agreement designed to limit Tehran’s ability to build a nuclear weapon.
Deeping tensions between Sunni and Shiite countries could only inflame the volatile Middle East, which is confronting growing instability in Syria, Yemen and Iraq.
Nimr was one of 47 people executed by Saudi Arabia for terrorism-related offenses this weekend.
The “inhumane” execution “is in line with supporting the extremist terrorists which have demolished the region and world,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a statement.