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Iranians Hold New Anti-Saudi Protests Amid Tensions

Thousands of Iranians held anti-Saudi protests across the country on January 8 condemning Riyadh's execution of a prominent Shi'ite cleric that has sparked renewed tensions between the two regional rivals.

Thousands of protesters marched through Tehran after Friday Prayers, chanting "Death to Al-Saud," in a reference to the ruling family of Saudi Arabia.

They also chanted "Down with America" and "Death to Israel," traditional Iranian slogans at protests.

Some were carrying pictures of Nimr al-Nimr, whose execution on January 2 prompted strong condemnations in Iran.

Iranian state media reported that protests also took place in other Iranian cities.

The crisis has seen Saudi Arabia sever ties with Iran, followed by Tehran's decision to ban all imports from the kingdom.

Saudi allies Bahrain, Sudan, Djibouti, and Somalia also cut diplomatic ties with Tehran. The United Arab Emirates downgraded relations with Iran, while Kuwait and Qatar have recalled their ambassadors.

The latest tensions threaten efforts to end conflicts in Syria and Yemen, where Sunni Muslim power Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite-led Iran support opposing sides.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP