The island nation of Bahrain, a United States ally on the Persian Gulf, recalled its ambassador to Tehran over the weekend in response to a foiled Iran-backed terror plot, the third in the last two months. Ties between the two countries were already strained after Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared in a televised speech that, after the signing of a nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, the Islamic Republic would continue to support its “regional friends” in “the oppressed Palestinian nation, Yemen, Syria, Iraq (and) Bahrain.”
In this weekend’s incident, Bahraini authorities arrested two suspected smugglers, at least one of whom received training from Iranian forces. Last month, the authorities foiled another terror operation plotted by members of the Iran-backed Saraya al-Ashtar. They also intercepted explosives on their way for use against nearby Saudi Arabia in an incident that, according to Bahraini police chief Major-General Tariq al-Hasan, demonstrated “clear similarities” to other attacks perpetrated by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
The IRGC is an Iranian military organization that helps the Supreme Leader maintain his power at home and advance his imperial goals abroad. It supports the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the Hezbollah terror organization in Lebanon, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and some of the most radically sectarian Shiite militias in Iraq. The IRGC and the Iranian regime stand to gain a tremendous financial boost from the deal recently signed between Iran and world powers.
This weekend’s arrests occurred at the same time that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif kicked off a tour to three Arab states – Kuwait, Qatar, and Iraq – in an effort to deepen ties and sell the nuclear deal. Zarif dismissed Bahrain’s charges as “unfounded allegations” that served to “create a climate of tension in the region.”
Bahrain has accused Iran of interfering in its internal affairs after Tehran criticized the arrest of a Bahraini opposition leader. Iran has previously called Bahrain its “14th province” and Ali Khamenei has called Bahrain “part and parcel” of Iran.
[Photo: Jawaher Mohammed / YouTube ]