Iran’s FM Voices Concerns over Al Khalifa Regime’s Clampdown on People

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed concern about Al Khalifa regime’s ongoing heavy crackdown on voices of dissent in the tiny Persian Gulf island, calling on the international community to help stop another catastrophe in the region.

“Alarmed about developments unfolding in Bahrain. Urgent international attention is essential to avoid another catastrophe in our region,” the Iranian foreign minister said in a message posted on his Twitter account late on Tuesday.

13950430094437878172644It came after a court in Bahrain earlier dissolved the country’s main Shiite opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, almost a month after the regime suspended its activities.

The so-called administrative court in the capital, Manama, on Sunday ordered the dissolution of al-Wefaq and the seizure of its funds.

The Bahraini justice ministry had suspended the opposition group’s activities on June 14.

The latest move, part of a wide crackdown on political dissent in Bahrain, is certain to prompt more protests in the country, whose embattled regime has faced an uprising since 2011.

Various human rights organizations had condemned the suspension, labeling it is part of a new crackdown on dissent.

Al-Wefaq’s secretary general, Sheikh Ali Salman, has been in prison since December 2014 on charges of attempting to overthrow the regime and collaborating with foreign powers, charges he has denied. A court sentenced him to four years in prison in June 2015.

The spiritual leader of the group, Sheikh Issa Qassim, has also been stripped of his Bahraini citizenship over similar accusations. On Saturday, the public prosecutor in Bahrain said the cleric will go on trial early next month on charges of “illegal fund collections and money laundering,” without providing an exact date.

Since February 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations on an almost daily basis, calling for the Al Khalifah regime to relinquish power.

In March that year, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — themselves repressive Arab regimes — were deployed to the country to help in the crackdown on peaceful protests.