BEIJING - A Chinese envoy who visited Saudi Arabia and Iran over the past week has called for both countries to exercise calm and restraint amid an on-going feud between the two countries, in a rare diplomatic foray into the region by Beijing.
Tensions between the Sunni Muslim kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Muslim Iran have escalated since Saudi authorities executed Shi'ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr on Jan. 2, triggering outrage among Shi'ites across the Middle East.
In response, Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad, prompting Riyadh to sever relations. Tehran then cut all commercial ties with Riyadh, and banned pilgrims from travelling to Mecca.
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