Bahrain and Iran agree to start talks aimed at restoring ties



Bahrain and Iran have initiated discussions to restore their political relations following a meeting between their foreign ministers in Teheran, as announced by Bahrain’s foreign ministry. The meeting, held on Sunday, featured Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani and Iran’s acting Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani, coinciding with al-Zayani’s participation in the Asian Cooperation Dialogue summit in Iran. Both ministers agreed to set up the necessary frameworks to commence talks on resuming diplomatic ties between the two nations.

The relationship between Bahrain and Iran has been strained for over a decade, with Bahrain severing diplomatic ties in 2016 due to rising tensions between Saudi Arabia, a close ally of Bahrain, and Iran. Bahrain also accused Iran of supporting a 2011 anti-government protest movement led by Bahrain’s Shia community, which was suppressed following the intervention of Saudi forces. However, the recent thawing of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, facilitated by a Chinese-brokered deal, has paved the way for Bahrain to reconsider its stance towards Iran.

In a move signalling a potential rapprochement, Bahrain sent a request through Russia to re-establish diplomatic relations with Iran earlier this June, according to Iranian news reports. Additionally, in May, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa expressed a desire for improved ties with Iran, further indicating Bahrain’s interest in mending its relationship with Teheran.