Saying the move violates “basic principles of human rights and international law,” Iran strongly condemned Saudi Arabia’s mass execution of convicted criminals over the weekend.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh expressed that the mass execution conducted by Saudi authorities of 81 men reportedly convicted of terrorism and capital crimes on Saturday was carried out “without observing fair judicial processes,” in a statement released late on Sunday.
Accusing them of crimes including murder, rape, arms smuggling and ties to terrorist groups, Saudi Arabia announced the execution of 81 people, the largest mass execution in the country’s history.
According to reports, most of those executed were Saudi nationals, and more than half of them belonged to the Shia Muslim community.
Accusing the Saudi government of “covering up political and judicial turmoil” and “repressing the people,” Khatibzadeh, in protest against the actions conducted by Riyadh, said the executions and violence “were not a solution to the crisis of their own making.”
The statement comes as Iran temporarily suspended a fifth round of tension-easing talks with Saudi Arabia, which were brokered by Iraq and set to resume on Wednesday.
Observers believe the executions could have triggered the unilateral decision, though no official reason was cited.
Following attacks on two Saudi diplomatic missions in the cities of Tehran and Mashhad in January 2016, which were triggered by Saudi Arabia’s execution of prominent Shia cleric and activist Sheikh Baqir Nimr al-Nimr, diplomatic relations between the two Persian Gulf neighbors fell out.