Iran-Bahrain Communications to Normalize Relations

Observers believe the decision is primarily linked to settling several issues, notably halting Iranian interference in Bahrain's internal affairs

An Iranian official has revealed ongoing communications with the Kingdom of Bahrain to establish political relations, following more than a year of normalized relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia. There is a noticeable trend among Gulf states to ease tensions with the Islamic Republic.

Mohammed Jamshidi, the Vice-President for Political Affairs at the Iranian Presidential Office, stated that Bahrain is keen on establishing political relations with Iran. Observers believe this is primarily related to settling several issues, including halting Iranian interference in Bahrain’s internal affairs.

Jamshidi explained, “Bahrain has directly sent the message that it wants to resume relations with Iran,” noting that the Bahraini King, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, expressed this request during his meeting with Russian officials, according to the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA).

During a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his recent visit to Moscow, the Bahraini King confirmed that “Bahrain has no significant issues with Iran,” considering that “there is no reason to delay the resumption of relations.”

After the agreement to normalize relations between Tehran and Riyadh was signed under Chinese sponsorship over a year ago, many sources spoke of efforts to normalize Bahrain-Iran relations to support stability in the Middle East.

Last year, Barbara Leaf, the top U.S. diplomat for Middle Eastern affairs, stated that Bahrain is likely to resume relations with Iran “soon.”

Bahrain cut ties with Iran in 2016, a day after Saudi Arabia did the same following the attack on its embassy in Tehran. Protesters in predominantly Shiite Iran attacked the Saudi embassy to express their anger after Riyadh executed a prominent Shiite cleric in 2016, to which predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia responded by severing relations.

In March, Saudi Arabia and Iran announced an agreement to resume diplomatic relations, and Iran reopened its embassy in Riyadh on June 6.

Bahrain has repeatedly accused Iran of supporting Shiite groups it describes as terrorist to destabilize the country and support protests and violence in 2011. Several Iranian officials have also made provocative statements against Manama, considering it part of Persia.

The rapprochement between Iran and Gulf states raises concerns in the United States and Israel, which has repeatedly threatened to attack Iranian nuclear sites to prevent Tehran from making a nuclear bomb. The ongoing war in Gaza has also increased the possibility of a direct confrontation between the two countries.

The Israeli government advised Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states not to proceed with reconciliation with Iran, reminding them of its history of threatening regional security and supporting armed groups in several Arab areas such as Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.

Bahrain signed a peace agreement in 2020 with the UAE and Israel, an agreement criticized by Iranian authorities.

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