DUBAI A prominent cleric with close links to Iran's ruling establishment denounced the execution on Saturday of a Saudi Shi'ite cleric and predicted the repercussions would bring down the Saudi ruling family.
Saudi Arabia executed 47 people for terrorism including Nimr al-Nimr, whom the government accuses of inciting violence among the Shi'ite minority, and at least three other Shi'ites. Most of the others were suspected Sunni jihadists.
Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, one of the most senior clerics in Shi'ite-ruled Iran, said in an interview with the Mehr news agency that Nimr's execution reflected the "criminal" nature of the Saudi ruling family.
"I have no doubt that this pure blood will stain the collar of the House of Saud and wipe them from the pages of history," Khatami, a member of the Assembly of Experts and a Friday prayer leader, was quoted as saying by Mehr.
His comments echoed former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's prediction in 2005 that Israel would be "wiped from the pages of history".
"The crime of executing Sheikh Nimr is part of a criminal pattern by this treacherous family ... the Islamic world is expected to cry out and denounce this infamous regime as much as it can," Khatami added.
(Reporting by Sam Wilkin; Editing by Catherine Evans)