x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

GCC protests at Iranian cleric's 'false' Bahrain claims

Gulf Cooperation Council delivers protest note to Iran's ambassador to Saudi Arabia complaining about Ayatollah Janati's 'blatant and unacceptable interference' in Bahrain's internal affairs.

RIYADH // The secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council yesterday delivered a protest note to Iran's ambassador to Saudi Arabia over an Iranian cleric's remarks on Bahrain, a GCC statement said.

Abdullatif Zayani gave Mohammed Rasuli a note of "official protest from the Gulf Cooperation Council, totally rejecting the provocative and false claims in the Friday sermon of Ayatollah Ahmed Janati against the kingdom of Bahrain," the statement said.

The note also termed Ayatollah Janati's remarks "blatant and unacceptable interference" in Bahrain's internal affairs, and called on Iranian officials and the government to "stop issuing false and inflammatory statements" about Bahrain, saying this could harm "good, neighbourly relations".

Ayatollah Ahmad Janati said during a sermon on July 8 in Tehran that "the number of the prisoners is increasing day by day. The academics and physicians are fired … what does Bahrain want?

"Their motto is each person a vote. Why should they be killed? The reconciliation meeting is a misdirection ploy. These plans bear no fruit," he said of a national dialogue in Bahrain.

"Bahrain should be conquered by Islam and Muslims, and a day should come when Bahrain is ruled by Islam."

Manama, along with other Gulf states, has repeatedly accused Iran of interference in Bahrain in connection with Shiite-led pro-reform protests there that were crushed in March by security forces.