Manama: Bahrain has slammed statements by Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi on a court verdict upholding the jail sentence against Ali Salman, the leader of the now-dissolved Al Wefaq Society.

“The comments reflect the inherently aggressive nature of the regime in Iran as well as its approach that disrespects the principles of international relations and good neighbourliness,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Tuesday evening.

“The statements also mirror the Iranian policy which interferes in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain and other Arab states in order to promote chaos, tension and violence in the region,.”

In his statement, Qassemi criticised the decision against Salman.

The sentence was pronounced in November by the Court of Appeals after it found Salman and two others guilty in a Qatar-linked espionage case filed by the public prosecution.

In its rejection of the Iranian stance, Bahrain said that Qassemi’s statements “aim to cover the suffering of the Iranians which has resulted from the regime’s practices in Iran and its support for terrorism in the region against the interests of the Iranian people who live in poverty, repression and violence caused by the Iranian regime.”

“The Iranian regime’s threat to regional and international security and stability requires active action and a firm response by the international community in order to force the Iranian regime to respect international laws and charters, the sovereignty and independence of states and non-interference in their internal affairs.”

Manama has steadily rejected Iran’s anti-Bahrain statements as “blatant disregard of the United Nations, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and international laws that emphasise respect for the sovereignty of all countries and the principles of independence.”Relations between Bahrain and Iran plummeted in March 2011 after Manama accused Tehran of interference in its domestic affairs.

Both countries pulled out their ambassadors, but while Bahrain reinstated its envoy in 2012 after an 18-month absence, Iran has kept a charge d’affaires at the top of its diplomatic mission.

In January 2016, as relations sank to their lowest level and in solidarity with Saudi Arabia after its diplomatic missions in Tehran and Mashhad were attacked by Iranian mobs, Bahrain cut off diplomatic ties with Iran.