Closer union would deepen wounds, Iran warns Bahrain
Anti-government protesters flash victory signs as they burn tyres in the capital of Bahrain, Manama. Gulf nations accuse Iran of fomenting unrest in the country. REUTERS photoIran criticized on May 15 plans by Gulf Arab leaders to form a closer political, economic and military union to counter Shiite Muslim discontent in Bahrain, warning that such a move would “deepen the wounds” in the island state.
Gulf Arab countries held a summit in Riyadh on May 14 to establish closer union between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, which sent troops in March last year to help squash the uprising in Manama, but failed to agree on further integration. The meeting was also a part of a strategy by the wealthy Sunni Muslim monarchies to counter Shiite Muslim Iran’s growing influence.
Iran calls for rallies against Saudi-Bahrain union
“The solution to the Bahrain crisis is to fulfill the legitimate demands of the people and any foreign intervention or non-normative plans ... will only deepen the wounds in Bahrain,” Iran’s official IRNA news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as saying. Iran “believes that the real power of the regional nations emanates from (governments) enjoying their peoples’ backing,” the spokesman added. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said on May 14 that “Iran has nothing to do with what happens between the two countries, even if it develops into a unity.” Iran has also called on its people to stage rallies after this week’s Friday prayers to protest against what it described as a U.S. plan to annex Bahrain to Saudi Arabia. The Islamic Propagation Coordination Council, which organizes state-backed protests, urged Iranians “to protest against the American plan to annex Bahrain to Saudi Arabia and express their anger against the lackey regimes of Al-Khalifa and Al-Saud.”
“This dangerous plot is the result of the American-Zionist-Britain evil triangle to prevent popular uprisings spreading into other countries of the region and to control the internal crisis in Bahrain which has been caused by the inability of the Al-Khalifa regime to control the situation,” the council said on its website.
Compiled from AFP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff.