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BAHRAIN: Manama recalls ambassador to Iran, alleging 'blatant interference'

March 15, 2011 |  8:48 am

Bahrain-protests 123

Bahrain on Tuesday recalled its ambassador to Iran after an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman decried the "unacceptable" presence of foreign troops in Bahrain, Iranian state media reported.

Additional security forces from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates entered Bahrain on Tuesday at the behest of the ruling family in order to help "secure government installations" amid widespread anti-government protests.

"The presence of foreign forces and interference in Bahrain's internal affairs is unacceptable and will further complicate the issue," said Ramin Mehmanparast at his weekly news conference in Tehran on Tuesday.

Just a few hours later, Bahrain recalled its ambassador in protest of what Bahraini officials described as "blatant interference" in its internal affairs by Tehran.

Bahraini government loyalists have sought to discredit the protest movement by alleging ties to Iran and the Shiite militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The anti-government protest movement includes Shiite opposition parties who have complained of mistreatment at the hands of the Sunni-dominated government. Protesters maintain they are motivated by political, not sectarian, grievances, and deny any ties to foreign powers.

-- Meris Lutz in Beirut and Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran

Photo: Anti-government protests in Bahrain have entered their fourth week. Credit: Phil Weymouth / AFP/Getty Images

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