Supporters of the Houthi movement protest against the execution of Shi'a Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia outside the Saudi embassy in Sanaa. The posters read: "Martyr Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr". Picture: Khaled Abdullah

Mogadishu - Somalia on Thursday cut diplomatic ties with Iran and gave Iranian embassy staff 72 hours to leave the country.

The Foreign Ministry in Mogadishu said in a statement that Iran’s diplomats committed violations against Somalia by meddling in internal affairs and playing a negative role in stability, security and unity.

Somalia joined Sudan and Djibouti in severing ties with Tehran as tensions grow over Saudi Arabia’s execution of a dissident Shi'a cleric.

Demonstrators in Tehran attacked the Saudi embassy on Saturday, the day that the Saudi government announced the execution of 47 people for convictions on terrorism-related charges.

Among those executed was Saudi Shi'a cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a fierce critic of the kingdom’s Sunni authorities.

Saudi Arabia broke off diplomatic relations with Iran on Sunday.

“Somalia can no longer watch these violations by Iran against the sovereignty of Somalia as a nation,” the ministry’s statement said.

The Iranian embassy’s acting envoy, Javad Dehghan Lotfabadi, and his team should depart from Somalia within 72 hours, it said.