Bahrain seeks apology from Iran over speech

Bahrain seeks apology from Iran over speech

DUBAI - Agence France-Presse

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) welcomes Mohamed Morsi in Tehran. AFP photo

Bahrain has demanded an apology from Iran after an official interpreter reportedly replaced the word “Syria” with “Bahrain” in a speech by Egypt’s president at the opening of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran.

The foreign ministry in Manama on Sept. 1 filed an “official protest memorandum” with Tehran’s charge d’affaires over the “misrepresentation made by Iranian State Television” during President Mohamed Morsi’s speech Aug. 30. Bahrain “requested the Iranian government to apologize for this act, and take the necessary action to correct the breach and ensure that actions like this one don’t happen again,” the ministry’s demarche said, according to a statement.

Morsi, in the first visit to the Islamic republic by an Egyptian head of state since the 1979 Islamic revolution, in his speech criticized the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a key regional ally of Tehran. “The revolution in Egypt is the cornerstone for the Arab Spring, which started days after Tunisia and then it was followed by Libya and Yemen and now the revolution in Syria against its oppressive regime,” Morsi told delegates at the summit, prompting a walk-out by the Syrian delegation.

Manama said that the interpreter on Iran’s state television replaced the word Syria with Bahrain several times, although Morsi, who spoke in Arabic, did not mention Bahrain at all.Relations between Tehran and Manama have been rocky over Iran’s vocal criticism of Bahrain’s deadly crackdown on Shiite-led protests last year.