Iran condemns Bahrain over Israel opening embassy

By: AFP      Published: 07:30 PM, 1 Oct, 2021
Iran condemns Bahrain over Israel opening embassy

Iran on Friday described Bahrain's hosting of Israel's foreign minister, who the previous day inaugurated the Jewish state's embassy in Manama, as "shameful".

Iran and Israel are sworn enemies and Bahrain is one of four Arab nations to have normalised ties with the Jewish state over the past year or so.

Sunni-ruled Bahrain has faced unrest among its large Shiite community which it has consistently blamed on Iran, charges that Tehran denies.

"The shameful welcoming by Bahraini leaders to... the regime occupying Jersualem" took place "against the will of the Bahraini nation," Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh announced in a statement.

The comments came after Israel's top diplomat Yair Lapid on Thursday inaugurated his country's embassy in Bahrain, a year after the two countries normalised ties and in a first official visit by a foreign minister of the Jewish state to the Gulf kingdom.

Lapid met King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, in what Israeli media said was the first public meeting of a Gulf monarch with an Israeli official.

Khatibzadeh deplored "all initiatives seeking to stabilise the destructive presence of Israel in the region."

This rising presence "will lead to further escalation and insecurity", he added.

Alongside Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco have all normalised ties with Israel over the past year.

The Gulf monarchy cut ties with Iran in 2016.

Iran meanwhile refuses to recognise Israel and consistently positions itself as a defender of the Palestinian cause.

Protests in Bahrain over new Israeli embassy

Anti-Israel protests broke out in Bahrain on Friday, a day after Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid's visit to open the Jewish state's first embassy in the country.

Police fired tear gas during one rally as scattered, small-scale protests took place around the tiny Gulf state.

Protesters marched waving Palestinian and Bahraini flags, chanting "Death to Israel" and "No to Israeli embassy in Islamic Bahrain". No arrests were reported.

Lapid's visit on Thursday came a year after Bahrain normalised ties with Israel, breaking with decades of Arab consensus that there should be no relations without a resolution to the Palestinian question.

The United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco also established relations in a series of US-brokered agreements known as the Abraham Accords.