Iran expels Bahrain diplomat in tit-for-tat move

Iran on Wednesday had recalled its ambassador from Bahrain.

Last Updated: Mar 21, 2011, 09:52 AM IST

Tehran: Iran on Sunday asked a Bahraini diplomat to leave the country in reprisal for the expulsion of one of the Islamic republic`s diplomats from Manama, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"After the illogical and incomprehensible actions of the Bahrain government, especially expelling one of our diplomats, as a reprisal the attache at Bahrain`s embassy has been summoned and told that one of the embassy`s diplomats must leave Iran," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said.

"Responding to the legitimate demands of the population guarantees the stability and permanence of governments, while the repression of peaceful protests and illogical actions only aggravate the crisis and deepen wounds," he said.

Iran on Wednesday recalled its ambassador from Bahrain "in protest at the killing of the people of Bahrain by its government," a day after Manama recalled its ambassador from Tehran, citing Iran`s "blatant interference" in its affairs.

Tehran said Manama had made a "strategic mistake" in asking Gulf troops to help quell pro-democracy protests in the tiny kingdom.

Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi told the official IRNA news agency that Sunni Muslim-ruled but Shi’ite-majority Bahrain had committed a "strategic and political" blunder that would cost its "legitimacy."

At least three people died on Wednesday when security forces firing tear gas and shotguns assaulted a month-old pro-democracy camp in the central Pearl Square roundabout of the Bahraini capital.

Hundreds of people were wounded in the unrest, and the government has been accused of crimes against international law for sealing off hospitals and assaulting doctors who tried to tend to the wounded.

The kingdom`s rulers invited troops from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states into the tiny island state to help boost security, a move which infuriated Iran and provoked outrage from the mainly Shi’ite opposition.

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, in a phone call with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu, on Sunday insisted on "the necessity for foreign forces to leave Bahrain," which is also home to the US Fifth Fleet, IRNA said.

Bureau Report