Bahrain has recalled its ambassador to Iran and ordered the Islamic Republic’s charge d’affaires in Manama to leave the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom within 72 hours.
The Bahraini Foreign Ministry, in a statement issued on Thursday, said it asked the kingdom’s ambassador, Rashid Saad al-Dosari, to return, and declared the Iranian diplomat, Mohammad Reza Babaei, persona non grata and ordered him to depart in the light of what Manama alleged to be Tehran’s interference in the internal affairs of Bahrain.
The statement further accused Tehran of forming and arming groups opposed to Bahrain’s ruling Al Khalifa regime.
The decision was taken a day after Bahraini officials claimed they had arrested a number of people that allegedly had terror links with Iran and Iraq.
A Bahraini Interior Ministry statement said the Al Khalifa regime forces had also uncovered a large stash of weapons at a house in the village of Nuwaidrat, situated about 10 kilometers (six miles) south of the capital, Manama.
The cache purportedly included a ton and a half of powerful explosive materials, automatic rifles, pistols and hand grenades.
On September 13, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham dismissed as “baseless” allegations leveled by Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa against the Islamic Republic, urging Bahraini authorities to stop playing blame game and instead consider the settlement of the ongoing tensions there through “real political dialog.”
She added that the unfounded accusations against Iran are aimed at covering up the Arab country’s internal problems.
Since early 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations on the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa family to relinquish power.
Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds more injured and arrested in the ongoing crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.