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Iranian Official Sacked Over Saudi Embassy Attack

Smoke pours out of the windows of the burning Saudi Arabian Embassy during anti-Riyadh protests in Tehran on January 2.

Iran has dismissed a security official over the attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, which led Riyadh and several of its allies to cut or downgrade ties with the Islamic republic.

The Interior Ministry said the incident was one of the reasons for the replacement of Safar Ali Baratlu as deputy for security affairs to Tehran’s governor general.

The Saudi Embassy in Tehran and its diplomatic mission in Mashhad were stormed on January 2 over Riyadh’s execution of the prominent Shi’ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

In a statement issued on January 11, the Interior Ministry said "a blind eye could not be turned" to what happened at the embassy.

"Based on primary investigations, the mistakes of Safa Ali Baratlu, Tehran Province's deputy governor for security affairs, were proved and the decision to replace him was promptly made due to sensitivity of the case," the ministry said in the statement, published by Iranian news agencies.

Baratlu's sacking was followed by the replacement of the head of police special forces in Tehran.

It wasn’t clear if his replacement was linked to the embassy attack.

Iranian officials have condemned the attacks on the Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran.

President Hassan Rohani has called on Iran's judiciary to urgently prosecute those who attacked the Saudi Embassy "to put an end once and for all to such damage and insults to Iran's dignity and national security."

Writing in The New York Times, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Tehran is determined to act against the attackers.

“We took immediate measures to help restore order to the Saudi diplomatic compound and declared our determination to bring perpetrators to justice," Zarif wrote in a January 10 opinion piece.

More than 40 people have been arrested in connection with the attacks.

Tehran Prosecutor-General Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said on January 11 that the attackers are still being identified, arrested, and interrogated.

With reporting by IRNA, Fars, AFP, Reuters
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