Iran recalls ambassador from Bahrain

TEHRAN, Iran—Iran has recalled its ambassador from Bahrain to protest crackdowns on mainly Shiite protesters in the tiny Gulf kingdom, Iranian state media reported Thursday.

State TV said Iran’s ambassador in Manama, Mahdi Aghajafari, was asked Wednesday to return home for consultations. Iran has denounced the deployment of a Saudi-led force from Sunni Arab allies this week to prop up the Sunni monarchy in Bahrain against widening demonstrations by the Shiite-led opposition.

Though there are no apparent links between Bahrain’s Shiite opposition and Iran’s predominantly Shiite nation, the Persian Gulf leaders are concerned that political gains by Bahrain’s Shiites could give Iran a stepping stone to its archrival Saudi Arabia.

Iran has called the deployment “unacceptable” and said it would make the situation in Bahrain “more complicated and difficult.”

Aghajafari took up his posting in the Bahrain capital Manama six months ago.

Also Thursday, scores of students and clerics gathered in Tehran, angrily chanted against Saudi and Bahraini leaders outside the embassies of the two countries. The protesters blamed the United States for allegedly supporting the deployment of the 1,000-strong Saudi-led forces to Bahrain.

On Tuesday, Iran summoned Bahrain’s charge d’affaires in Tehran to officially protest to the crackdown. The Saudi ambassador in Iran was summoned in a similar protest.

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