Source: S. Arabia Forcing Manama to Strain Ties with Iran
“Following the recent statements by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution (Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei) during the Eid al-Fitr ceremonies about the conditions of Muslims in Arab countries, Saudi Arabia incited Bahrain to react,” an informed Bahraini source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told FNA on Monday.
The source also added that Riyadh has made similar calls on Jordan and Egypt to follow suit and urge Iran to drop its support for the Muslim Arab nations.
Bahrain’s interior ministry claimed on Saturday it had foiled an arms smuggling plot by two Bahrainis with ties to Iran, while its foreign ministry announced the recall of its ambassador to Tehran for consultations after what it said were repeated hostile Iranian statements.
Bahrain made the announcements on the eve of a trilateral tour of several Persian Gulf Arab states by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif aimed at calming tensions following a historic nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
In response, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham on Sunday rejected Bahrain’s claims against Tehran as unfounded allegations, and warned the Manama government to avoid stirring tension in the region.
Afkham said the claims leveled against Iran by the Bahraini interior and foreign ministries are baseless allegations repeatedly raised against Iran, and added, “The Bahraini government clearly intends to stir tension in the region through repeating unfounded accusations.”
Yet, the spokeswoman said “such unconstructive methods would not undermine the serious will and demand of the Islamic Republic of Iran to continue its responsible and confidence-building regional policies which focus on joint regional cooperation, specially against such threats as extremism and terrorism”.
She further reminded the Manama government that leveling accusations against Iran is of no more use and efficiency, “and the Bahraini officials had better revise their methods instead of projecting the blame” on others.
Anti-government protesters have been holding peaceful demonstrations across Bahrain since mid-February 2011, calling for an end to the al-Khalifa dynasty.
Violence against the defenseless people escalated after a Saudi-led conglomerate of police, security and military forces from the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) member states – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar – were dispatched to the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom on March 2011, to help Manama crack down on peaceful protestors.
So far, hundreds of protesters have been killed, hundreds more have gone missing and thousands of others have been injured and arrested.