The trial of protesters accused of ransacking the Saudi embassy in Tehran opened in the Iranian capital with 21 suspects accused of “destruction”, the judiciary’s news agency reported. Mizan Online said 21 out of 48 defendants appeared in court for the first hearing and were formally informed by the prosecutor of the charges against them. The Saudi embassy and its consulate in Iran’s second city Mashhad were stormed and burned on January 2 in protest against the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent cleric from Saudi Arabia’s Shiite minority. Oil-rich Saudi Arabia and some of its Sunni Muslim Gulf allies severed diplomatic relations with Shiite-ruled Iran the next day. Iran hopes that the trial will restore international confidence.
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