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100 people arrested in Iran over Saudi embassy attack

Judiciary spokesperson says authorities took 'immediate and serious action' following incident that led to Riyadh cutting ties with Tehran
An Iranian protester holds a sign bearing the name of Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr during a protest against his execution by Saudi authorities, on 3 January 2016, outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran (AFP)

Iran has arrested about 100 people over an attack on Saudi Arabia's embassy earlier this month that led to Riyadh cutting diplomatic ties with Tehran, a judiciary spokesperson said on Sunday.

"Since the attack, about 100 people have been arrested, of whom some have been released," Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeie was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

The ransacking of the embassy earlier this month "has been condemned by all authorities and we have taken immediate and serious action," he added.

One individual was also arrested "abroad" and returned to Iran, he said. 

"He had given orders to certain individuals who entered the embassy," Ejeie added, without providing further details. 

Demonstrators stormed and burned Riyadh's embassy in Tehran and its consulate in second city Mashhad on 2 January to protest against the execution of Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent cleric from Saudi Arabia's Shia minority.

The Gulf kingdom and some of its allies subsequently severed diplomatic relations with Iran over the incidents.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday condemned the attack. 

"Like the British embassy attack before it, this was against the country (Iran) and Islam, and I didn't like it," he said, referring to a mob ransacking the UK's embassy in Tehran in 2011.

President Hassan Rouhani also condemned the attacks as "totally unjustifiable" and called on the judiciary to put on trial those accused of being involved. 

Iran previously said it had arrested 40 people over the embassy attack in Tehran, and another four after the consulate was torched in Mashhad.

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