Bahrain Crisis Settlement Needs Respect for Dissidents: Iranian Diplomat

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It is necessary for the Bahraini regime to respect the dignity of the opposition’s religious figures and halt crackdown on people to ensure a political approach for addressing the crisis.

“Freedom of Sheikh Ali Salman from illegal detention, preserving the dignity of Ayatollah (Sheikh) Isa Qassim, and ending security measures are necessary prerequisites for political settlement (of crisis) in Bahrain,” Hossein Amir Abdollahian, a former Iranian deputy foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Iran would not intervene in Bahrain’s internal affairs, but supports democracy, freedom of expression and human rights in the region, including Bahrain, Amir Abdollahian, now a special assistant of the parliament speaker for international affairs, added.

His comments came after the Manama regime’s announcement of decision to bring to trial senior Shiite cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim on charges of “illegal fund collections, money laundering and helping terrorism” on July 27.

Sheikh Qassim, 79, has already rejected the charges.

Responding to the accusations leveled by the Bahraini criminal court, opposition groups said Sheikh Qassim would not appear in the court.

Also in May, Bahrain’s Supreme Court of Appeal increased a four-year prison sentence already issued against another renowned Shiite cleric Sheikh Salman by five more years.

The Shiite cleric, Salman, who is the secretary general of Bahrain’s main opposition bloc al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, was arrested on December 28, 2014 after the Al Khalifa accused him of seeking regime change and collaborating with foreign powers.

Since 2011, the Manama regime has been cracking down on political dissent.