Manama: Bahrain has presented a formal complaint against Iran to the United Nations Secretary General for its blatant violations and its continued unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the foreign ministry said.
The complaint was presented by Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa during a meeting with Ban Ki-moon, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Iran has chosen the path of escalation in an attempt to exert control over its neighbours by continuing to interfere in their internal affairs, the exploitation of extremist groups, the provision of safe haven to fugitives, the opening of training camps for terrorist groups, and the smuggling arms and explosives, Shaikh Khalid said.
Hostile activities have resulted in citizens, expatriates and security personnel becoming the targets of murder and criminal acts that have so far claimed 16 lives from security personnel and injured 3,000, the ministry said on Friday.
Shaikh Khalid said that Bahrain, a country that remained fully committed to the principles of good neighborliness and mutual respect, did not have a choice but to take the decision to withdraw its ambassador accredited to Iran and to consider the charge d’affairs at the Iranian embassy in Manama persona non grata.
The decision to recall the Bahraini ambassador and expel the Iranian diplomat aimed to “enhance the security of the Kingdom and the safety of its people and protect its interests,” the ministry said.
Shaikh Khalid added that Bahrain was keen to restore relations to their normal level, “but only after Iran takes positive and concrete steps, desists from practices and interference in Bahrain's affairs and shows commitment to the principles of good neighbourliness and mutual respect.”
Bahrain on Thursday evening said that it had withdrawn its ambassador to Iran and asked the Iranian Charge d’Affaires to leave the kingdom within 72 hours after he was declared persona non-grata.
“In light of the continued Iranian interference in the affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain without any legal deterrent or moral limits as well as its unlawful attempts and practices to create sectarian strife and impose its hegemony and control over the entire region through reprehensible tools and means that are not limited to offending statements from senior officials, but also include supporting subversion, terrorism and incitement to violence through misleading media campaigns as well as assisting terrorist groups in the smuggling of weapons and explosives, and training their members, and harbouring fugitives from justice, and in the face of Iran's repeated and blatant violation of all norms, laws and international conventions and principles of good neighbourliness, mutual respect and unacceptable infringement on the independence and sovereignty of the Kingdom of Bahrain, Bahrain has decided to recall its ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran Rashid Saad Al Dossary and to consider Mr. Mohammad Reza Babai, Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Kingdom, persona non grata and ask him to leave the country within 72 hours,” the ministry said.
On Wednesday evening, Bahrain said security authorities seized an unprecedented amount of internationally-sourced explosives and bomb-making materials that were to be used in terror attacks by suspects who “hold strong connections with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah.”
“Authorities uncovered a sophisticated bomb-manufacturing facility that contained in excess of 1.5 tonnes of high-grade explosives, including C4-RDX, TNT, and other powerful chemical explosives in a counter-terrorism operation at a warehouse in a residential area in Nuwaidrat,” the Ministry of Interior said, referring to a village 10 kilometres south of the capital Manama.
“The facility had been adapted to accommodate an elaborate network of hidden underground bunkers and an above-ground manufacturing operation.”
The ministry said that a number of individuals suspected of being responsible for assembling and concealing explosive materials in the warehouse have been arrested, and “as with previous incidents throughout 2015, the terror suspects hold strong connections with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah.”
“This significant discovery marks yet another disturbing incident in which relentless Iranian actions are attempting to undermine security and stability within Bahrain and the wider region,” Chief of Police Major-General Tariq Al Hassan said.
Iran in a statement had criticised the arrival of troops from the Peninsula Shield, the military arm of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in Bahrain. The Iranian statement was also rejected by other GCC countries.
Tehran recalled its envoy in Manama in a tit-for-tat move one day after the Bahraini envoy was summoned home.
However, Bahrain reinstated Ambassador Al Dossary in August 2012 following a 17-month absence. Iran did not reciprocate and kept the charge d’affaires as the highest diplomat in the kingdom.