05/17/2012, 00.00
IRAN - BAHRAIN - SAUDI ARABIA
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Iranians protest against Gulf States union

Tehran calls for demonstrations against a plan to unify the Arab Gulf states, "a dangerous plot" instigated by "the American-Zionist-Britain evil triangle". Bahrain and the Gulf Cooperation Council slam Iran for interfering in their domestic affairs.

Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The Islamic Propagation Coordination Council (IPCC) organised state-backed demonstrations today in Iran "to protest against the American plan to annex Bahrain to Saudi Arabia and express their anger against the lackey regimes of Al-Khalifa and Al-Saud."

The demonstrations targeted a plan by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, to turn itself into a European Union-styled organisation. On Monday, GCC leaders agreed to a first step. Next December, a transitional deal should be signed that would see Saudi Arabia and Bahrain form a union.

Bahrain is governed by a Sunni monarchy even though most of the population is Shia. For more than a year, the archipelago has been rocked by protests and demonstrations that were met with repressive measures, in some occasions backed by Saudi security forces.

For the IPCC, the union plan is a "dangerous plot" instigated by "the American-Zionist-Britain evil triangle to prevent popular uprisings spreading into other countries of the region and to control the internal crisis in Bahrain which has been caused by the inability of the Al-Khalifa regime to control the situation".

"Al-Saud and Al-Khalifa should be aware that with this kind of plot they will not stop the popular movement in Bahrain and the movement of Islamic awakening in the region," the Council added.

"Any kind of foreign intervention or non-normative plans without respecting people's vote will only deepen the already existing wounds," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said.

For their part, Bahrain and the GCC condemned Iran for making "provocative" comments, which show Tehran's "hostile" and "bad intentions" whilst causing "anxiety and tension across the region."

Bahrain's main opposition group, al-Wefaq, slammed the proposal. In a statement, the group said that no country has the right to undermine Bahrain's sovereignty and independence.

Al-Wefaq leader Sheikh Ali Salman called instead for a referendum on the issue in all the six Arab Gulf countries.

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