Bahrain sent message through Russia to normalise ties with Iran: Official

Bahraini officials have previously said that Manama is seeking improved relations with Tehran after years of tensions.

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain
King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain attends the Arab League summit, in Jeddah, May 19, 2023 [Handout/Saudi Press Agency via Reuters]

Bahrain has sent a request via Russia to re-establish diplomatic relations with Iran, Iranian news outlets have reported, citing presidential adviser Mohammad Jamshidi.

The reports on Friday come after several public statements by Bahraini officials expressing openness to restoring ties with Iran after years of tensions between the two countries.

“Bahrain has sent a message to Iran through Russia to normalise relations with Iran,” Jamshidi was quoted as saying by Iran’s Press TV.

Manama had cut off diplomatic relations with Tehran in 2016 following a spike in tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Bahrain had also accused Iran of involvement in antigovernment protests that swept the country in 2011.

Saudi Arabia normalised its own relations with Iran as part of a Chinese-brokered agreement last year.

Last month, during a visit to Moscow, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa said the Gulf island looks forward to improved relations with Iran.

Bahrain’s state news agency BNA cited him as saying that there was no reason to delay the resumption of relations between the two countries.

King Hamad reiterated that message when he met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang in Beijing last week.

“As advocates of peace, tolerance, and human coexistence, we believe in adopting a peaceful and diplomatic approach, grounded in principles of good neighbourliness and non-interference in internal affairs,” Hamad said, according to BNA.

“We seek to resume diplomatic ties with Iran as a neighbour, and we welcome your support for this effort to promote peace and stability in the region.”

Last month, the Bahraini monarch sent a cable to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to express condolences for the death of President Ibrahim Raisi, who was killed in a helicopter crash.

In 2020, Bahrain signed a deal to establish formal ties with Israel – Iran’s bitter rival – as part of a United States-brokered effort. Two years later, the Gulf country signed a security cooperation agreement with Israel.

In December, Bahrain joined a US-led military coalition to counter attacks on international shipping lanes by Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthis.

The Yemeni group has sworn to continue attacking Israel-linked ships within its reach, especially in the Red Sea, until the Israeli government ends the war on Gaza, which has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians.

Source: Al Jazeera