Iran condemns Bahrain revoking Shia cleric’s citizenship

Tehran, June 21 (IANS) Iran has condemned Bahrain’s move to strip of the country’s top Shia cleric, Sheikh Isa Qassim, of his citizenship.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Monday condemned the Bahraini regime’s “intensification of its security approach toward religious and national leaders, opposition to religious beliefs and principles, and misappropriation of religious assets and funds of the Bahraini people”, Xinhua news agency reported.

It urged Bahrain to end “stopping its illegal behaviour (towards the dissidents), avoiding the destruction of all the bridges for communication with the people and moderate leaders of the country by accepting the realities and holding serious national dialogue.”

Commander of Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Major General Qassem Soleimani, also on Monday warned Bahrain of the consequences of its move.

It would set fire to Bahrain and the entire region, and “leave the people (of Bahrain) with no choice but armed resistance”, Soleimani said.

This would result in the collapse of the “bloodthirsty regime”, said Soleimani, adding the regime is repressing its people while the UN, the US and Western countries maintain their “meaningful silence”.

The Quds Force, also known as Qods, is a special unit of Iran’s IRGC responsible for “extraterritorial” missions.

Bahrain announced on Monday that it had revoked the citizenship of the country’s most powerful Shia cleric, saying the move was part of the measures to fight extremism.

Sheikh Isa Qassim, the leader of the opposition group Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, was stripped of nationality, the country’s Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The statement accused Qassim of forming “groups that follow foreign religious ideologies and political entities” and of playing “a key role in fostering extremism and sectarianism in Bahrain”.

–IANS

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