(Reuters) – Iran said on Friday that the Israeli foreign minister’s visit to Bahrain this week to mark the inauguration of relations between the two countries left a stain on the Arab country’s rulers “that will never be erased.”
Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates normalized relations with Israel last year in a US-brokered deal based on shared commercial interests and concerns about Iran. Sudan and Morocco followed suit.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa on Thursday. Referring to the Iran issue, Lapid visited the headquarters of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, which had been involved in confrontations with Iranian ships in recent years.
“We condemn any preparation for the consolidation of the destructive Israeli presence in the region,” said Saeed Khatibzadeh, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, in a statement published by the Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency.
The spokesman expressed regret that the rulers of Bahrain ignore “the crimes that the Zionist entity commits daily against the oppressed and steadfast Palestinian people at the same time.”
He added that this position “is a disgrace that will never be erased from the forehead of the Bahraini authorities. The peoples of the region will continue to oppose the process of normalization with the Zionist entity.”
Bahrain accuses Iran of fomenting unrest in the kingdom, which Tehran denies. Bahrain witnessed sporadic protests after the signing of the normalization agreement.
The Palestinians denounced these agreements, saying that those countries had abandoned the unified Arab position that no peace with Israel would be established unless it returned the occupied territories.