Bahrain not interested in escalating tension with Iran: Hamad

May 10, 2011

King Hamad receiving a scholar - BNA

King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa said that Bahrain was not interested in escalating tension with Iran.

“In Bahrain, whenever there is a dispute, we try to contain it and go to our brothers and shake hands with them,” Hamad said. “Despite all the reports we hear about a dispute between Iran and Arab countries, we are doing our best to extend our hands to our brothers in Iran to address and solve the issue. This is in the interest of both the Arabs and Iran. We did not reply to some statements that contained extreme elements and our answer is always cordial,” King Hamad told a group of religious scholars in Bahrain.

Relations between Manama and Tehran have reached low levels after Iran said that it was “morally” supporting demonstrators and Bahrain accused Iran of blatant interference in its domestic affairs.

The king said that information and media have been targeting the Arab and Islamic worlds in particular and were sowing divisions between the Arabs and Iran.

Hamad ruled out the dissolution of the parliament after the number of MPs in the lower chamber went down to 22 following the resignation of 18 lawmakers representing Al Wefaq in February to protest against the government’s dealing with demonstrators at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Roundabout, known popularly as the Pearl Roundabout.

“We did not set up an elected parliament to dissolve it every year or every two years and gloat about it,” he said. “I have worked for a regime in which the parliament is never dissolved. The parliament is a sacred institution and its existence is a necessity.”

By-elections will help fill the void made by the resignations. “We will hold by- elections so that the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies feels that he has a full chamber in which issues can be debated by all and that no-one will use the current situation to pass some matters without the consent of all deputies,” the king said. “My hope is that once the date of the by-elections is set, all those who are in the concerned constituencies will take part and help with the resumption of the forward-looking movement.”

Hamad said that he wanted Bahrain to put to rest the days of political turmoil that hit the country in February and March.

This week, he announced that the state of national safety imposed in march would be lifted on June 1. “We are particularly keen on moving forward quickly in order to put the crisis behind us as soon as possible and edge towards knowledge, happy times and prosperity. I believe that neither you nor I wish to be in the daily negative reports which are mostly fabricated and are targeting our nation,” he said.

Hamad pledged that justice will prevail and that there would be no abuse of the law.

“The judicial branch is independent. I challenge anyone who can say that there is a judge or a lawyer who has been officially directed by me to do or not to do something. The reason is very simple: I am a man keen on building robust institutions in our society which richly deserves it,” he said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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