Manama: Manama has slammed an Iranian official’s remarks that his country could take control of Bahrain within hours.

“We strongly condemn the statement by Iranian former ambassador to France Sadeq Kharrazi,” Hamad Al Amer, the foreign ministry undersecretary for regional and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) affairs, said. “It is a transgression of the rules of diplomatic work and a breach of the diplomatic etiquette, in addition to political recklessness and provocation that confirm the spirit of haughtiness and hostility shown by some Iranian officials towards Bahrain and Saudi Arabia,” he said.

In a statement to the Fars News Agency on Saturday, Kharrazi, the former ambassador in Paris, said that it was easy for Iran to occupy Bahrain.

“If Iran wanted, it could take control of Bahrain in a few hours by using its rapid reaction forces,” he said, quoted by the Iranian agency.

However, Al Amer said that the Iranian official should have minded the domestic issues in his country instead of making antagonistic statements.

“He should realise that showing off his country’s power will not help change the real image that the world has about how the regime in Iran has violated the basic human rights of the Iranian people and other ethnic groups in Iran,” Al Amer said. “Striving to achieve peace, cooperation and co-existence between Iran and the GCC member countries is much more significant that such statements and threats that do not help at all to build confidence measures for the sake of a better future for all the countries in the region.”

Manama and the other GCC capitals have condemned Tehran for its “blatant interference in their domestic affairs” and have repeatedly called upon it to change its attitudes. Tehran has invariably denied the charges.

Tehran has taken a strong stance against Saudi Arabia after Bahrain called in the Peninsula Shield, the military arm of the GCC, to help deal with the unrest that brought the country to a standstill in mid-March.

Bahrain said that the call for assistance from the Peninsula Shield was under a common security treaty and that the troops would be used to guard key installations.

However, Iran has likened the presence of the GCC troops to an occupation of Bahrain and has called for their withdrawal.

The call was rejected by Bahrain and other GCC countries as “blatant interference in their domestic affairs and decisions.”

A move by the GCC countries to turn their cooperation into a Gulf union and in which Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have had a prominent role, has also been condemned by Iran.

The GCC responded by criticising Tehran for its anti-Gulf stance and accused it of attempting to extend its domination in the region.