Bahrain, Iran To Restore Political Relations

On Sunday, June 23, Bahrain’s state news agency reported that Bahrain and Iran will begin talks aimed at reinstating political relations, following a meeting between the states’ foreign ministers. 

The two countries severed relations eight years ago in line with tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Regional sources report on the resumption of Bahraini-Iranian relations:

Al Arabiya covered Bahrain’s state news agency announcement from Sunday that “the two countries have agreed to start discussing re-establishing political relations.” The following day, Iranian state media echoed and elaborated on the bilateral discussions, stating: “Iran and Bahrain have agreed to start talks about the release of Iranian funds frozen in Bahrain and resuming diplomatic ties.”

According to The Times of Israel, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency shared that this decision emerged following an engagement between “Iran’s acting foreign minister Ali Bagheri Kani and his Bahraini counterpart Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani…on the sidelines of the ongoing Asian Cooperation Dialogue in Tehran.” The source detailed: “Both sides agreed on creating the framework to start talks on the requirements for resuming diplomatic relations.”

Arab News highlighted to a joint statement released in regards to the Kani-Zayani meeting: “The discussions were held ‘within the framework of the historical fraternal relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the ties of religion, neighborhood, common history and mutual interests between them.’”

Providing context on the countries’ relations, The National News specified: “Bahrain cut ties with Iran in 2016 after attacks on Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad, following the execution of Shiite cleric Nimr Al Nimr by Riyadh…Bahrain’s relationship with Iran has been marked by years of tension, with Manama in the past accusing Tehran of fomenting unrest in the kingdom.” 

Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa told Russian President Vladimir Putin during his May 2024 visit to Moscow “that his country no longer had problems with Iran and sought trade and cultural relations,” the New Arab reported. That same month, Iran’s then-Foreign Minister Amir Hossein Amir-Abdollahian publicly expressed “that Tehran was considering resuming relations with Manama” and he “welcomed Bahrain’s decision to pardon some 1,500 prisoners, including political prisoners, earlier this year.”

Al-Mayadeen demonstrated that Bahraini-Iranian relations continued to develop in June, this time during a visit by Bahrain’s monarch to China. King Al Khalifa relayed to Chinese President Xi Jinping: “We believe in the principle of good neighborliness and non-interference in internal affairs…We are working to restore diplomatic relations with Iran as a neighbor.”



(Banner image: Bahrain Foreign Ministry)

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