Japan urges Middle East states to defuse tensions through dialogue: Kyodo

Tehran, Jan 5, IRNA - Japan urged Middle East nations on Tuesday to de-escalate tensions in the region through dialogue in the wake of the severing of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Japan's Kyodo News reported.

Referring to Japan's high dependence on the region for oil supply, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, 'Our country is concerned about deterioration in relations between Iran and some Arab states, including Saudi Arabia.

'For the sake of stability in the Middle East region, we would like to call on all parties involved to exercise restraint, de-escalate the situation through dialogue and resolve the issue peacefully,' Suga said at a news conference.

Saudi Arabia on Saturday executed Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a Shia Muslim cleric known for his sermons criticizing the kingdom’s government and for his support of political protests in the country’s oil-rich Eastern Province.

At that day, the Saudi Interior Ministry said 47 people have been executed on charges of what it referred to as terrorism.

Prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr was among those executed.

The Saudi move triggered mass protests in Iran and other countries.