Flames rise from Saudi Arabia’s embassy during a riot in Tehran January 2, 2016. Iranian protesters ransacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran early on Sunday morning after Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Shiite cleric. Image Credit: REUTERS

Manama: Osama Bin Ahmad Naqli, the head of the media department at the Saudi foreign ministry, gave the following timeline of the events related to the Saudi diplomatic missions that unfolded in Tehran and Mashad:

The embassy in Tehran:


Morning: The embassy in Tehran receives phone calls threatening to kill staff

2:20 pm: Crowds begin to gather in front of the embassy. The acting charge d’affaires called the Iranian foreign ministry to inform them about the developments and to request a protection of the diplomatic mission, but there was no real response.

9:30 pm: more crowds assembled in front of the embassy and started hurling stones at the building.

Attacks on Saudi mission condemned

Bahrain follows Saudi Arabia in cutting Iran diplomatic ties

The new Saudi Arabia is unapologetic



2:00 am: New crowds took over the rallying in front of the embassy. Two people stormed the premises and set parts of the building ablaze

2:30 am: Crowds stormed the building. The acting charge d’affaires again called the foreign ministry, and again there was no real response.

3:30 am: The power in the neighbourhood where embassy staff lived was cut off for one hour.

The acting charge d’affaires sought protection to visit the diplomatic mission premises, but it was provided only in the afternoon. During the inspection, he found out that the building was damaged and that the items inside, including furniture, were either broken or stolen.

The general consulate in Mashad:


11:00 am: A car drove through the security barrier of the consulate in an attempt to storm the gate inside. The Iranian authorities did not stop it.

4:30 pm: A crowd of around 2,000 people gathered in front of the consulate and hurled stones and Molotov cocktails. Some exterior glass windows were broken.

Some of the people attempted to storm the building, without the Iranian authorities moving to stop or arrest them.

* Saudi Arabia moved to evacuate the 47 members of the families of the diplomatic staff by booking them on an Emirates flight that leaves at 7:20 pm (Tehran time). However, the Iranian authorities delayed their departure to 10 pm.