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Winter is Coming: Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the execution of Nimr Al-Nimr
Saudi Arabia executed the prominent Shi’ite cleric Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr on 2nd January 2016. The execution, aimed at preventing domestic instability and warning Tehran against expanding its influence, has rapidly escalated tension with Iran. The two countries have severed diplomatic relations and will intensify their geostrategic competition. Relations between the countries should be stabilised as quickly as possible to prevent an increase in sectarian violence. Stabilisation will be difficult.