Dubai: Thirty-two Saudis from the kingdom’s Eastern Region have gone on trial for spying for Iran.

An Iranian and an Afghan are also accused, the local media reports said. The move comes after Saudi Arabia and some of its allies cut diplomatic ties with Tehran in January during a crisis between the regional rivals.

The decision also came after demonstrators burned the Saudi embassy in Tehran and a consulate in Iran’s second city of Mashhad to protest the Saudi execution of Saudi Shiite cleric Nimr Al Nimr, a native of the Qatif area.

The 32 suspects allegedly committed high treason against the kingdom by collaborating with Iranian intelligence.

They divulged defence secrets, sought to commit sabotage, tried to recruit moles in government departments to send coded information, and supported “riots” in Qatif, the reports said. They added that some suspects met Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In a related development, the Lebanese government said it was necessary to fix ties with Saudi Arabia after Riyadh last week suspended a $4 billion aid package to the Lebanese army and police, and tasked Prime Minister Tammam Salam with making contacts to do so.

The Lebanese national unity government groups both allies and enemies of Saudi Arabia, including the Iranian-backed Shiite group Hezbollah.

Salam, speaking in a televised news conference, said the cabinet statement had been passed unanimously. In response to a question on the attacks last month, he said “we strongly condemn” the attack on the Saudi embassy.