Middle East

Arab League to Iran: stop anti-Bahrain campaign

Arab League Chief Nabil Elaraby arrives for the opening meeting of Arab League foreign ministers at the league's headquarters in Cairo April 26, 2012. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

CAIRO: The Arab League called on Tehran on Monday to halt what it described as a media campaign against Bahrain over a proposal for political and military union between Gulf Arab states.

Saudi Arabia has been pushing the idea of closer Gulf integration to contain Shi'ite Muslim unrest in Bahrain and counter the influence of regional Shiite power Iran.

Riyadh's initial goal appears to be a merger with Bahrain, where majority Shi'ites have been staging pro-democracy demonstrations targeting the Sunni Muslim ruling family for over a year. Bahraini leaders have been publicly receptive to union.

"The Iranian government must stop its media escalation campaign and provocative statements from Iranian officials ragarding the situation in Bahrain," Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby said in a statement.

"Any union steps between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are a sovereign issue of the two states and other Gulf countries and no other country has the right to interfere in it," he said.

Iranian state television aired last week footage of thousands of people holding rallies around the country protesting against the proposed Manama-Riyadh union and an influential cleric denounced the idea as an "ill-fated plot".

Tension between Iran and U.S.-allied Gulf Arab states has run high in recent months, with Arab leaders accusing thei Islamic Republic of fomenting Shi'ite Muslim unrest in Bahrain - a charge that Tehran and the protesters deny.

Bahrain, the base for the U.S. Fifth Fleet, has been in turmoil since pro-democracy rallies first erupted in February 2011, inspired by successful uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. (Reporting by Tamim Elyan; Editing by Mark Heinrich)





Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (http://bit.ly/vDisqus)

comments powered by Disqus



Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here