PHOTO: Tehran Friday Prayer leader Kazem Seddiqi “Bahraini people want to decide fate of their country”
In the latest escalation of its rhetorical campaign against Riyadh, Iran’s regime has assured that the monarchies of Saudi Arabia and its ally Bahrain will soon fall.
Referring to the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, Tehran Friday Prayer leader Kazem Seddiqi said, “The Shah’s fate awaits the rulers of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.”
Saudi and Iranian relations, always strained amid rivalry for influence in the Middle East, were broken in January following Riyadh’s execution of a prominent Shia cleric and a crowd attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. The two countries are on opposite sides in the ongoing Syrian and Yemeni civil wars.
Iran has also denounced the regime in Bahrain, which is closely tied to Riyadh and relied on Saudi security forces to quell mass protests in 2011. The latest campaign has been spurred by the Bahrain government’s revocation of the citizenship of opposition cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, one of a series of imprisonments and restrictions to suppress dissent.
Seddiqi said on Friday, “The Bahraini people have one universal demand…to have a vote so that they can decide on the destiny of their country.” He maintained that the punishment of Qassim is a “sign of the Bahraini government’s desperation”.
Amid a series of statements and public protests, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Wednesday, “We cannot accept the fact that the rights of Bahraini people are infringed on by a certain group and that they are deprived of their rights.”
However, Zarif played down the prospect of a break in relations, following Saudi Arabia’s January cut-off of links with Tehran: “Iran, nevertheless, considers having good neighborly relations (with other countries) as its unwavering policy.”