Iran Foreign Ministry summons Bahrain diplomat over concerns
Iranian Foreign Ministry has summoned Bahrain’s charge d'affaires in Tehran to express the Islamic Republic’s growing concerns over the developments in the Persian Gulf sheikdom.
In a meeting with the Bahraini diplomat, the head of the Iranian Foreign Ministry's Second Office for Persian Gulf Affairs said meeting public demands is the only way out of the crisis in Bahrain.
Bahrainis have been staging demonstrations since mid-February 2011. The protests were first aimed at implementing political reforms and establishing a constitutional monarchy in the sheikdom, but later changed to an outright call for the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following the regime’s deadly crackdown on popular protests.
According to local sources, scores of people have been killed and hundreds others arrested so far during the Bahraini government’s clampdown on February 2011-present anti-regime demonstrations on the island. The Bahraini public hold King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa responsible for deaths of protesters during the popular uprising.
The Iranian official also strongly rejected recent remarks made by Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmad Al Khalifa.
Earlier in the day, Sheikh Khaled warned Iran to stop interfering in Bahrain’s internal affairs, while affirming Manama’s support for plans about the formation of a union between the six nations of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC). “The union...is a demand by the people of the [P]GCC," he said.
Recent reports say that Saudi Arabia is seeking to merge with Bahrain in line with plans to unify the [P]GCC member states, namely Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman.
The Saudi plan would give Manama internal political autonomy, while Riyadh would stay in charge of the country’s military affairs.