Bahrain and Sudan on Monday both decided to sever their diplomatic ties with Iran, while the United Arab Emirates is downgrading its diplomacy to only focus on business relationships. The decisions by the three Sunni-ruling countries were announced a day after Saudi Arabia cut all diplomatic ties with Iran.

The Saudi Arabian foreign ministry announced on Sunday that Iranian diplomats had 48 hours to leave the kingdom, and that their own diplomatic mission was heading back home from Tehran. This was after Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran and set it on fire.

Tension between the two countries has spiked after the Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia executed Shi’ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, among 46 others, on Saturday. He was accused of inciting violence, leading protests against the Saudi government and carrying arms. The move to execute Nimr was met with dismay from Shia-majority countries. Experts said the chain of events could further destabilise the tenuous situation in the Middle East.

AFP reported on Monday that Russia is ready to act as an intermediary between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Earlier, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had condemned the attack on the Saudi Arabian embassy and ordered the arrest of those involved. Rouhani, however, also spoke against the execution of Nimr.

PTI reported that Shia community members staged protests against Nimr's execution in Srinagar on Monday. Raising pro-Islam and pro-Nimr slogans, they tried to head to the city centre from Rainawari, officials said. However, clashes ensued when they were stopped by the police, who had to use tear gas. No one was injured in the clashes, they added.