US puts pro-Iran Bahraini group on terror blacklist

The United States places a pro-Iranian group based in Bahrain on its global terror blacklist, accusing it of plotting attacks on US troops in the tiny Gulf kingdom.

The group, Saraya al-Mukhtar, poses a “significant risk of committing acts of terrorism that threaten the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says in a statement.

“Saraya al-Mukhtar is an Iran-backed terrorist organization based in Bahrain, reportedly receiving financial and logistic support from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” Pompeo says.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have been on the US “Designated Global Terrorist” list since 2019.

“Saraya al-Mukhtar’s self-described goal is to depose the Bahraini government with the intention of paving the way for Iran to exert greater influence in Bahrain,” Pompeo says. “The group has plotted attacks against US personnel in Bahrain and has offered cash rewards for the assassination of Bahraini officials.”

Placing Saraya al-Mukhtar on the list freezes any assets it has in the United States, deprives it of access to the US financial system and bans US citizens from any dealings with the group.

The Shiite Muslim Saraya al-Mukhtar is known on the internet for making threats against the royal family and condemning the treatment of the Shiite Muslim minority in neighboring Saudi Arabia.

It was accused in 2017 of hijacking the Twitter account of Bahrain’s foreign minister, a member of the Sunni Muslim dynasty which reigns over the Shiite-majority Gulf kingdom.

— with AFP