Iran hails Bahrain king’s speech on cordial ties

May 14, 2011

Iran on Saturday hailed a speech delivered last week by Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa in which he highlighted the significance of cordial relations.

“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 issues,” King Hamad told a group of religious scholars in Bahrain.

“This is in the interest of both the Arabs and Iran. Media are targeting the Arab and Islamic worlds in particular and seek to sow divisions between them and to separate between Muslims. Here in Bahrain, whenever there was a dispute, we tried to contain it and went to our brothers to shake hands with them.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that the offer “to hold talks was a good step taken by King Hamad”, Iranian media Press TV and Mehr News reported.

Relations between the two countries have reached their lowest level after Manama accused Tehran of “blatant interference in its domestic affairs through supporting demonstrators and criticising Bahrain’s invitation to Peninsula Shield forces, the military arm of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), to help restore peace and stability after four turbulent weeks.

Iran said that the presence of the forces in Bahrain amounted to an occupation of the island country, a charge that the countries which provided the bulk of the troops, rejected.

Bahrain said that the call to the Peninsula Shield forces was under a clause in the cooperation deals between the six GCC states, and likened it to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) about common reactions to threats.

Kuwait has also waded into controversy with Iran after a court sentenced two Iranians to death for their role in a spying ring reportedly working for Tehran.

Salehi, according to Iranian media, said that he is “very likely” to travel to Kuwait in the coming days.

Support from Malaysia

In Riyadh, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak said that Malaysia “stands fully behind recent actions undertaken by Saudi Arabia and other GCC states to achieve peace, reconciliation and long-term stability in Bahrain”.

“Malaysia fully backs all sovereign decisions taken by Saudi Arabia and GCC states to safeguard the stability and security of the region in these trying times,” he said in a statement released by his office Friday night, Bernama, the Malaysian news agency, reported.

In the statement following talks with King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Najib said Malaysia supported the national dialogue process launched by Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa to address the aspirations of the people of Bahrain and to de-escalate tension in the country.

“Considering these facts, Prime Minister Najib is pleased to announce that Malaysia stands ready to contribute peacekeepers to the Kingdom of Bahrain, if invited to do so by the Bahraini leadership,” the statement said.

“These forces will assist the legitimate mission of GCC forces, which are playing a vital role in ensuring the success of the national dialogue in Bahrain. If invited, Malaysia will consider it a great honour to offer assistance in this noble effort.”



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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