Iran condemns Saudi troops' arrival in Bahrain
Iran's decision to get involved threatens to change the situation from a local dispute into a regional standoff between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran, with Bahrain as the proxy.
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Iran criticized the deployment of forces from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates yesterday to Bahrain, the small Gulf island nation where protesters have been calling for democratic reforms since Feb. 14.
The move was organized by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a political and economic bloc of six regional powers. But Iranian officials condemned the deployment as Western-backed and against the will of peaceful protesters.
"The deployment of forces by a number of regional countries may be for mitigation of their concerns about their power, but they have placed themselves against the people's wrath through this action … this will definitely harm their glassy palaces in the future," Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said at a session of parliament in Tehran Tuesday, according to Iran’s Fars News Agency. "The Islamic Consultative Assembly (parliament) cautions the regional states that they should not imagine such a military intervention, which is happening at the US orders, would have no costs," he added.
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast also spoke out against the arrival of foreign troops in Bahrain, saying the deployments “are unacceptable and will further complicate the issue,” according to Iran’s Press TV.
Iran's decision to get involved threatens to change the situation from a local dispute into a regional standoff between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran, with Bahrain as the proxy, the New York Times reported.
Rasool Nafisi, an academic and Iran expert based in Virginia, said: “Now that the Saudis have gone in, they may spur a similar reaction from Iran, and Bahrain becomes a battleground between Saudi and Iran. This may prolong the conflict rather than put an end to it, and make it an international event rather than a local uprising.”
Iran – which suppressed its own pro-democracy "Green Movement" in 2009 with a deadly crackdown – has already taken a strident tone in Arab world revolutions, comparing the ousters of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, for example, to its own Islamic Revolution which toppled the US-backed shah. But Bahrain seems to strike a special chord, with Shiite protesters in a Shiite-majority nation demonstrating against the Sunni Al Khalifa family, which has ruled since the late 1700s.