Iran, Bahrain move to open new chapter in bilateral ties as regional convergence grows

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In a significant development signaling growing regional convergence, Iran and Bahrain are set to reconcile and restore diplomatic ties after a hiatus of eight years.

In a joint statement on Sunday, the foreign ministries of both countries highlighted the deep-rooted historical, fraternal, religious, and geographical ties between Iran and Bahrain.

The statement followed a meeting between Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani and Iran’s acting Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani on the sidelines of the 19th Ministerial Meeting of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) in Tehran.

The two diplomats engaged in detailed discussions to lay the groundwork for future dialogues aimed at fully restoring political relations between the two Persian Gulf countries.

The 19th ACD Ministerial Meeting, held on Monday, saw participation from 30 international delegations, with an emphasis on the importance of enhanced cooperation and convergence

Bahrain’s diplomatic shift viz a viz Iran    

Bahrain severed its diplomatic ties with Iran following the escalation of tensions between Tehran and Riyadh in 2016 over the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Baqir Nimr in Saudi Arabia.

Bahrain was among several Persian Gulf states that sided with Riyadh and cut ties with Iran.

However, after the restoration of ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia following marathon negotiations mediated by Iraq, Oman and China in March last year, many Persian Gulf countries followed suit and extended an olive branch to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

According to regional observers, late Iranian president Ebrahim Raeisi’s neighborhood-friendly foreign policy and East-centric focus were instrumental in this convergence between Persian Gulf states.

Before Bahrain, countries such as Kuwait, Sudan, Egypt as well as the UAE and Jordan had restored ties with Iran.

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