Turkey has said steps must be taken to protect countries’ diplomatic missions after physical attacks on Saudi missions in Iran triggered a wave of regional tension.

The statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Tuesday comes after angry scenes in Iranian cities prompted by Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shia Muslim cleric on Saturday.

"The attacks on Saudi missions in Tehran and Mashhad are unacceptable as host countries must protect the diplomatic mission and consulate buildings which have full immunity under [the] Vienna Convention," the ministry said on Tuesday.

The ministry also urged Riyadh and Tehran to act so as not to allow the tension between them to negatively affect the wider Middle East region.

Turkey also called for an “immediate shift from the language of threat to a diplomatic one, and acts [based] upon common sense," the Foreign Ministry added.

Friction between Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia – fierce regional rivals who support opposing sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen – was heightened by the execution of Shia cleric Nimr Baqir al-Nimr by Saudi authorities on Saturday.

Before his arrest in July 2012, Nimr led mass protests against the Saudi regime. He was among 47 people executed on Saturday for terrorism offenses.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday after Iranian protesters attacked and set fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran and the Saudi consulate in Mashhad.

It recalled its diplomats from Iran; the first group arrived back in Saudi Arabia late Monday. The kingdom has also halted all flights to and from the Islamic Republic.

Bahrain and Sudan also followed Riyadh on Monday in cutting relations with Iran and expelling Iranian ambassadors in protest at the attacks on Saudi missions.

The United Arab Emirates has also scaled back its diplomatic representation to Tehran.

Anadolu Agency