Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian embassy’s acting charge d’affaires Mortadha Sanubari on Sunday to protest against comments made by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, official news agency BNA reported.
The ministry “handed him an official protest memorandum following the recent statements made by Ali Khamenei against the Kingdom of Bahrain,” the report said.
Following the signing of a nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers last week, Khamenei had said on Saturday that the country would continue to support “oppressed” people in Middle Eastern countries such as Palestine, Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Bahrain.
Bahrain’s foreign affairs undersecretary Abdulla Abdullatif Abdulla said that the statement represented a “flagrant and unacceptable interference in Bahrain’s internal affairs, a blatant encroachment on its sovereignty and independence and a violation of the UN and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation principles.”
The Iranian leader’s statement also carries “wrong and false descriptions of the situation in Bahrain,” BNA quoted him as saying.
He stressed the necessity of putting an end immediately to such statements and focus instead on improving the living conditions of the Iranian people.
Abdulla also urged the need to “commit to the principles of good neighborliness and non-interference in the internal affairs of Bahrain, to respect its sovereignty and independence and to abide fully by the international norms that govern relations between sovereign countries.”
The undersecretary said the Gulf state would take all measures that protect its interests and maintain its security and stability.
Bahrain, which hosts the US fifth fleet, has been witnessing sporadic violence since 2011 led by its Shi’ite Muslim majority demanding reforms and a bigger share in government.
Close to 100 people have died and several hundreds have been jailed for participating in illegal protests, according to rights groups.