Hezbollah and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps denounced Bahrain Saturday over its decision to normalize diplomatic ties with Israel, with the IRGC warning of “harsh revenge” from the Gulf kingdom’s majority Shiite population.
“The executioner ruler of Bahrain should await the harsh revenge of the Mujahideen [Islamic fighters] aiming to liberate Jerusalem and the proud Muslim nation of this country,” the military organization said in a statement to Reuters.
Hezbollah said “All of the efforts to justify the Bahraini regime’s move can’t justify the betrayal and painful stabbing in the back of the Palestinian people.”
The Iran-backed Lebanese terror group added: “We see Bahrain’s recognition of the Zionist entity and normalization of ties with it as another [step] in the public betrayal of the Palestinians. All of the Arab peoples and the Palestinians in the resistance axis in the region need to oppose these moves.”
Earlier Saturday, Iran’s foreign ministry said Bahrain was now a partner to the “crimes” of Israel.
“The rulers of Bahrain will from now on be partners to the crimes of the Zionist regime as a constant threat to the security of the region and the world of Islam,” the ministry said in a statement following Friday’s announcement of the agreement.
Iran accused Jerusalem of “decades of violence, slaughter, war, terror and bloodshed in oppressed Palestine and the region.”
Iran said that through this “shameful” deal, Bahrain has “sacrificed the Palestinian cause at the altar of American elections.”
Its “result will undoubtedly be growing anger and the lasting hatred of the oppressed people of Palestine, Muslims and the free nations of the world,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.
The Friday announcement by US President Donald Trump made Bahrain the second Arab country in a month, after the United Arab Emirates, to normalize ties with Israel under US sponsorship.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said earlier this month that the UAE had “betrayed” the Muslim world and that he hoped they would “soon wake up and compensate for what they have done.”
Bahrain is acutely aware of threats posed by Iran — the Kingdom has a majority Shiite population, despite being ruled since 1783 by the Sunni Al Khalifa family.
The ruling elites are firmly allied with Saudi Arabia in its rivalry with Shiite Iran, even as Bahrain’s Shiites have familial, linguistic and political ties with Tehran going back decades.
Iran under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi had pushed to take over Bahrain after British protection ended, though Bahrainis in 1970 overwhelmingly supported becoming an independent nation and the UN Security Council unanimously backed that.
Since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, Bahrain’s rulers have blamed Iran for arming militants on the island and stirring unrest. Iran denies the accusations.
Members of Bahrain’s Shiite majority have accused the government of treating them like second-class citizens. The Shiites joined pro-democracy activists in demanding more political freedoms in 2011, as Arab Spring protests swept across the wider Middle East.
Saudi and Emirati troops ultimately helped violently put down the demonstrations.
Bahrain, alongside the UAE, downgraded its relations with Iran in 2016 amid rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic.
Tehran-Riyadh relations deteriorated further last year, following a series of attacks on tankers in the Gulf, which Washington blamed on Tehran despite Iranian denials.
Iran’s Saturday announcement came after a joint statement released by the White House a day earlier said Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Salman al-Khalifa spoke earlier in the day with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “and agreed to the establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain.”
Israel and the UAE announced they were normalizing relations on August 13, and a signing ceremony for their accord is to be held at the White House on September 15. Bahrain will now join that ceremony, with its foreign minister Abdullatif Al Zayani and Netanyahu signing “a historic Declaration of Peace,” the joint statement said.
The joint statement specified that the parties would continue their efforts to achieve a “just, comprehensive and enduring resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to enable the Palestinian people to reach their full potential.”
Nonetheless, the accord constitutes another major blow to the Palestinian leader and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who had condemned the UAE-Israel deal as despicable and a betrayal, and sought in vain to have the Arab League condemn it earlier this week.
The Palestinian Authority and the Hamas terror group both condemned Friday’s Israeli-Bahraini normalization deal as another “stab in the back” by an Arab state and act of “aggression” against their people.
PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki recalled the Palestinian ambassador to Bahrain “for consultations on the necessary steps,” in response to the normalization agreement, according to the Palestinian Authority’s official Wafa news agency.