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549 words - May 23, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
On May 19, spokesman Abbas Araqchi of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran said his country "is ready to transparently help resolve the crisis in Bahrain through fair solutions." Such assistance from Tehran would only take place "in response to a request by Bahraini King," an official statement said.
The tensions have moved a rung over the last few days, after Iran officially condemned "a raid by Bahraini forces on the house of prominent Shia cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ahmed Qassim." The Iranian government denounced the raid as continued and deliberate violence on behalf of the Bahraini government against the Shia community. According to Tehran, Sheikh Qassim was targeted because he "has repeatedly criticized Manama over its violent crackdown on protests."
In comments to the Fars News Agency (FNA), Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian went further by condemning the "suppression" of Shiites by the al-Khalifa regime in Bahrain. "Certain parties in Bahrain's ruling system have crossed the redlines of the Muslim world and the Shiites and if you don't apologize for this improper act, you should expect an unexpected reaction," Amir-Abdollahian was quoting as saying in reaction of the raid at Sheikh Qassim's house. In response, the government of Bahrain deplored the "irresponsible remarks" made by the Iranian official and regarded "it as a clear and unacceptable interference in its internal affairs."
In fact, the dispute has been constant between the two countries and Ambassador Hamad Ahmed Abdulaziz Al Amer who is in charge of Regional and GCC affairs at the Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs described the tensions as the "continuation" of a longstanding campaign of "threats" and "hate" against Bahrain. According to Ambassador Al Amer, all this participates in a campaign that serves the "expansionist ambitions" of the Iranian government which, through its repeated "interferences", poses "serious threats to the security and stability of the Gulf region, the Arab world and international peace and security."
Bahrain's Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa brought the matter at the highest level. Al Khalifa sent official letters to the United Nations Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the European Union's High Representative for Security and Foreign Policy, Baroness Catherine Ashton, the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Dr. Nabil Elaraby and to the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. The Bahraini official stressed "the importance of taking note of these grave acts and threats and political, religious and media incitements, that have been continuing for a long period of time," and expressed "his full confidence that the international community will take these threats and their implications into serious considerations."
So far, Bahrain obtained the support of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) whose Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan told reporters that ''our Iranian neighbors have a real problem in understanding and identifying the way in which they deal with their neighbors." The UAE official affirmed that the renewed tension with Bahrain directly results from the Iranian government's attempt to focus its people's minds on external rather than internal issues in view of the presidential elections to be held on June 14.
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