Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mahmanparast voiced his country’s displeasure with the arrival of 1,000 Saudi troops on the soil of the island nation of Bahrain on Monday.
“The presence of foreign forces and interference in Bahrain’s internal affairs is unacceptable and will further complicate the issue,” the foreign minister stated during his weekly news conference.
GCC Decides to Intervene
The Saudi soldiers were sent into Bahrain after the decision was taken by the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that forceful intervention was the best way to protect the interests of the government of Bahrain against the rising protest movement which has been threatening stability there.
The arrival of the soldiers came soon after a crowd of mostly Shi’ite protesters overtook Bahraini security forces on Sunday. They also prevented traffic on the highway to the central financial district in what was the most violent show of dissent by demonstrators since seven protesters were killed in February.
Sunni versus Shi’ite?
The majority of rulers of the Gulf States are Sunni Muslims, while the protesters are predominantly Shi’ite. Iran, which is not ethnically Arab, is the main Shi’ite power in the region. Iran has been accused of supporting the protesters, while Tehran has consistently denied this contention.
Although Iran is facing its own dissenters at home, they have nevertheless taken the stand of backing the spreading protest movements across the Arab Middle East, describing the unrest as an “Islamic awakening” against tyrants and dictators.
“People have some legitimate demands and they are expressing them peacefully. It should not be responded to violently … and we expect their demands be fulfilled through correct means,” Mehmanparast said on the situation in Bahrain.