Bahrain defends decision to reinstate Iran envoy

September 6, 2012

Bahrain’s reinstatement of its ambassador to Iran nearly 18 months after recalling him was to defend the kingdom’s interests, the foreign minister has said.

“Asking the kingdom’s ambassador to return to Tehran was to continue defending Bahrain’s interests, and not a compliment to Iran,” Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa wrote on his Twitter account.

Bahrain in March 2011 recalled its ambassador to Iran after it accused Tehran of “blatant interference in its domestic affairs”.

Iran was highly critical of Bahrain after it called in the Peninsula Shield, the military arm of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), “to help guard vital installations in the kingdom” during the unrest that hit the country.

At the time, Tehran said the presence of GCC troops amounted to an invasion of Bahrain and called for their withdrawal.

The GCC issued a statement to refute Tehran’s claims and to ask Iran not to meddle in the council’s internal affairs.

In a tit-for-tat move, Iran recalled its ambassador to Bahrain, even though the embassies in both capitals remained open.

However, while Manama reinstated its ambassador last month, Tehran is yet to send its head of mission to Bahrain.

Relations between the two countries which had hit their lowest in years were rocked again recently when Manama demanded an apology from Tehran for including Bahrain in a distorted Farsi translation of the speech delivered by Egyptian president Mohammad Mursi at the opening of the Non-Aliged Movement in Iran.

Bahrain took strong objection after an interpreter replaced references to Syria in the speech with Bahrain and made several changes that seemed to fit with the official line adopted by Iran on the developments in the region.

Both Egypt and Bahrain protested the distortion and, in Manama, several political groups and columnists unleashed sweeping criticism of Iran for the distorted translation and for tampering with President Mursi’s speech.

“Iran must apologise to Bahrain for what happened if it is a mistake,” Shaikh Khalid, who headed Bahrain’s delegation to the summit, wrote on Twitter. “However, if that is not the case, then its credibility is still as we know it.”

In another tweet, Shaikh Khalid charged that the Iranian media had concocted the “golden era” expression when they reported his meeting with Ali Akbar Salehi, his Iranian counterpart.

According to the report, Bahrain and Iran would work together to boost bilateral ties and re-enter the golden era of special relations.

“I never mentioned ‘golden era’ to the Iranian media. The expression is a pure fabrication by a person I have never met. In fact I do not recall any golden era between Bahrain and Iran,” Shaikh Khalid wrote.



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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