Iran Foreign Ministry summons Bahrain diplomat over concerns
Iranian Foreign Ministry has summoned Bahrain's charge d'affaires in Tehran to express the Islamic Republic's growing concerns over the developments in the Persian Gulf kingdom, Press TV reported.
In a Thursday meeting with the Bahraini diplomat, the head of the Iranian Foreign Ministry's Second Office for Persian Gulf Affairs said meeting public demands is the only way out of the crisis in Bahrain.
Bahrainis have been staging demonstrations since mid-February 2011. The protests were first aimed at implementing political reforms and establishing a constitutional monarchy in the sheikdom, but later changed to an outright call for the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following the regime's deadly crackdown on popular protests.
According to the opposition, more then 60 people have been killed since the protests began last year. The death toll includes civilians who have died as a result of being exposed to tear-gas and at least four who have died in police custody.
Four police officers were also been killed when police and military forces moved to clear the pro-reform protest site, Lulu Roundabout, and impose martial laws in March.
The Iranian official also strongly rejected recent remarks made by Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmad Al Khalifa.
Earlier in the day, Sheikh Khaled warned Iran to stop interfering in Bahrain's internal affairs, while affirming Manama's support for plans about the formation of a union between the six nations of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC). "The union...is a demand by the people of the [P]GCC," he said.
Gulf Arab countries held a summit in Riyadh on Monday to establish closer union between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, which sent troops in March last year to help squash the uprising in Manama, but failed to agree on further integration.
On Wednesday, Iran's Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani warned that the union plan, which, he said, has been devised by the West and the Saudi regime, is a "dangerous game."