On Friday, Bahrain announced it was going to join the United Arab Emirates in mending ties with Iran’s archrival, Israel. The UAE agreed to the normalization in August, abolishing a 1972 law that banned any deals with Israel. The three nations are expected to sign a declaration of peace in the White House next week, as their rapprochement was brokered through US mediation.
Iranian Foreign Ministry said the decision taken by the small, yet influential Gulf island nation was “shameful.”
“The rulers of Bahrain will from now on be complicit in the crimes of the Zionist regime, which is a threat to the security of the region and the Muslim world,” the ministry declared, as cited by the Iranian state television station.
The adviser on international affairs to the speaker of Iran’s parliament, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, took to Twitter to accuse Bahrain of a “great betrayal” of Palestine and of the whole Muslim cause.
“The imprudent leaders in [the] UAE, Bahrain must not pave the way for the Zionist schemes,” he wrote. “They should learn lessons from history. Tomorrow is [too] late! The US lifeline has [been] worn out for years.”
The move made by the UAE and Bahrain contravenes the long-standing joint stance of the Arab world that any normalization with Israel is only possible if Israel withdraws from the occupied territories and accepts Palestinian statehood.
The Palestinian leadership called on Bahrain to swiftly retract its decision, saying it would cause “great harm” to the rights of the Palestinian people.
Israel, in contrast, welcomed the deal with Bahrain, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pronouncing it a “new era of peace” that heralded “major investments” into the Israeli economy from the oil-rich kingdom.
Bahrain is a close ally of both the US and UAE. It hosts the US Navy’s regional headquarters, and the UAE helped it quell protests in 2011 and was among the Gulf countries that offered the Bahrani monarchy a $10 billion economic bailout two years ago.