US urges Mideast leaders to take `steps to calm tensions`

The United States on Sunday urged Mideast leaders to take measures to soothe tensions in the region after Saudi Arabia executed a Shiite cleric, provoking outrage from Iran.

Washington: The United States on Sunday urged Mideast leaders to take measures to soothe tensions in the region after Saudi Arabia executed a Shiite cleric, provoking outrage from Iran.

The execution was followed by an attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran, prompting Riyadh to sever ties.

"We`re aware that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has ordered the closure of Iranian diplomatic missions in the kingdom," US State Department spokesman John Kirby said about the diplomatic rift.

"We believe that diplomatic engagement and direct conversations remain essential in working through differences and we will continue to urge leaders across the region to take affirmative steps to calm tensions."

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