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Bahrain Requests to Restore Diplomatic Relations with Iran Through Russia

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In a significant diplomatic development, Iran’s news outlets have reported that Bahrain has made a request, conveyed through Russia, to re-establish diplomatic relations with Iran. This move follows public statements by Bahraini officials expressing willingness to mend ties with Iran after years of strained relations between the two countries.

In 2016, against the backdrop of escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Bahrain took the decision to sever its diplomatic relations with Iran. This move was also influenced by Bahrain’s allegations of Iran’s involvement in the anti-government protests that swept the country in 2011. Notably, Saudi Arabia, too, normalized its relations with Iran as part of a Chinese-brokered agreement last year.

Recent interactions between Bahrain and Iran paint a picture of Bahrain’s proactive stance in improving relations. During a visit to Moscow, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa expressed the Gulf island’s aspiration for enhanced ties with Iran. King Hamad emphasized the importance of a peaceful and diplomatic approach, underlining principles of good neighbourliness and non-interference in internal affairs.

Furthermore, Bahrain’s monarch extended condolences to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei following the tragic death of President Ibrahim Raisi. This gesture signifies Bahrain’s efforts to engage positively with Iran despite historical differences.

It is worth noting that in 2020, Bahrain signed a deal to establish formal ties with Israel, Iran’s rival, as part of a United States-brokered effort. Additionally, Bahrain joined a US-led military coalition in December to counter attacks on international shipping lanes by Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthis, aligning itself with regional dynamics.

As Bahrain seeks to resume diplomatic ties with Iran, this potential re-engagement holds implications for regional stability and geopolitical dynamics in the Middle East. The interplay of these diplomatic manoeuvres reflects the complex relationships and alliances shaping the region’s geopolitical landscape.

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