Bahrain blames "foreign agenda," Hezbollah for unrest
A Bahraini minister said Friday that "foreign agendas" were behind the recent unrest in the country and accused the militant Shiite movement Hezbollah and a television station run by Iran of instigating protests, dpa reported.
Minister of Social Development Fatima Albalooshi said opposition protesters were the main source of violence and not the police, despite counter claims from human rights groups and the United Nations.
"We found out these people (protesters) were doing all this at the instigation of a foreign country ... a neighbouring country and Hezbollah," Albalooshi told reporters in Geneva.
While she declined to specifically blame Iran, she singled out Iran's Arabic language television station, al-Alam, as responsible for hording weapons in Bahrain and spreading false information to incite violence.
The minister said the majority of people injured and killed in recent protests were police officers and expatriates. In total, 19 people were killed, of them 11 were police, she said.
When asked if Bahrain, which is largely run by its king, would make a transformation to a more broad-based system of governance, AlBalooshi said her country was already a "constitutional monarchy."
Bahrain allowed in foreign troops from Saudi Arabia only to guard key installations such as oil refineries, Albalooshi said.
Iran has withdrawn its ambassador from Bahrain, which has a majority Shiite population, though the monarchy is in the hands of a Sunni Muslim family