Bahrain and Iran agree to start talks aimed at restoring ties

Bahrain had cut ties with Iran in 2016, but relations improved following the Saudi-Iranian rapprochement last year.

Bahrain's Foreign Minister, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani speaks
Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani travelled to Iran, where he met his Iranian counterpart [File: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters]

Bahrain and Iran have agreed to begin talks aimed at restoring political relations between the two countries, after a meeting between their foreign ministers in Tehran, the Bahraini foreign ministry has said.

The meeting between Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani and the acting Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani took place on Sunday, during al-Zayani’s visit to Iran, where he is participating in the Asian Cooperation Dialogue summit.

“The two sides agreed in this meeting to establish the necessary mechanisms to begin talks between the two countries to study how to resume political relations between them,” a statement said.

Bahrain and Iran have had long-standing disputes for more than a decade. Manama had cut ties with Tehran in 2016 after tensions between Bahrain’s ally Saudi Arabia and Iran. Bahrain also accused Iran of being involved in a 2011 anti-government protest movement led by the country’s Shia community, which was put down after the arrival of a Saudi force into Bahrain.

Saudi Arabia had also cut ties with Iran in 2016, but restored them last year as part of a Chinese-brokered deal, and since then relations between Iran and Bahrain have also warmed.

Earlier in June, Bahrain sent a request via Russia to re-establish diplomatic relations with Iran, Iranian news outlets reported.

And in May, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa said the country was looking forward to improved relations with Iran.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies