What caused the rift between Saudi Arabia and Iran?

  1. The cleric was involved in anti-government protests against the Saudi ruling family in 2011.
  2. I read an article in the Associated Press that didn’t seem to dispute his guilt in protesting. However, the article stated that people are commonly sentenced to be executed but, in these types of cases, the executions are not usually carried out. So the fact that he was actually executed was surprising to most.
  3. The cleric, al-Nimr, is a Shiite. Saudi Arabia is a Sunni-majority Islamic country. Iran, on the other hand, is a Shiite-majority Islamic country. There’s lots of tension between Sunnis and Shiites in the Middle East.