Last updated: 21 November, 2011

Iran summons Bahrain envoy over terror cell claim

Iran has summoned Bahrain’s charge d’affaires to reject “baseless claims” by Manama that a “terrorist” cell said to have been recently busted in Bahrain had links to Tehran, according to the website of state television Monday.

The Bahraini diplomat was reportedly summoned Sunday to the foreign ministry, a week after Iran complained publicly of the “ridiculous” claims.

On November 13, Bahrain’s judiciary said a five-member “terrorist” cell facing charges of planning attacks in the Arab kingdom had links to Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.

Hossein Kamalian, a top Iranian foreign ministry official in charge of Gulf affairs, protested Bahrain’s claim, which he warned would play into the hands of the region’s foes, Monday’s report said.

“These moves will not do anything to resolve Bahrain’s problem,” Kamalian said. “The solution to Bahrain’s issues is a proper response to the legitimate demands of Bahraini Muslims.”

Relations between Iran and Bahrain turned bitter this year when the Gulf Arab country’s Sunni regime clamped down on pro-democracy protests led by members of the majority Shiite population.

Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, has repeatedly condemned the crackdown and has criticised heavy sentences handed out to arrested protesters.