5-speed listening (Level 5)

Iran and Saudi Arabia in war of words






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There is a war of words between Iran and Saudi Arabia after the execution of the Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. He was among 47 men put to death on terrorism charges. Saudi leaders said Mr al-Nimr had led anti-government protests in 2011-2012. He was previously convicted of disobedience and of carrying arms. Al-Nimr said he never carried weapons or called for violence, but had encouraged people to resist police bullets using "the roar of the word" instead. Iran's leaders said al-Nimr was killed for being a Shia Muslim. Saudi Arabia is a largely Sunni Muslim country.

There were protests against the execution in the Iranian capital Tehran on Sunday. People attacked the Saudi Arabian embassy and set it on fire. Iran said Saudi Arabia would pay a "heavy price" for the execution, including the possible downfall of its government. Saudi Arabia said Iran had no right to create tensions on what was an internal Saudi matter. The foreign ministry said Mr al-Nimr was killed for breaking the law and not because he was a Shia Muslim. It said: "There is no difference between what a person does regardless of his ethnic origin or affiliation, or what he believes."

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