Bahrain announced Monday it was cutting diplomatic ties with Iran, following the suit of Saudi Arabia, its ally, as the United Arab Emirates downgraded Iran’s diplomatic presence as tensions continued to escalate.
Manama ordered Tehran’s diplomats in the tiny Gulf state “to leave the kingdom within 48 hours,” BNA state news agency reported on Twitter.
A Bahraini statement said the decision was triggered by “cowardly” attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran and “increasing flagrant and dangerous meddling” by Tehran in the internal affairs of Gulf and Arab states.
Manama said the attacks on the Saudi missions represent a “very dangerous pattern of sectarian policies that should be confronted… in order to preserve security and stability in the entire region.”
The Bahraini foreign ministry summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires Murtada Sanawbari and handed him an official note in line with its decision, said the statement carried by BNA.
A number of Saudi Arabia’s allies have joined diplomatic action against Iran after the Saudi embassy in Tehran was attacked amid a row over the execution of a Shia Muslim cleric.
Bahrain’s decision came days after Saudi Arabia severed ties and gave Iran’s diplomats two days to leave on Sunday.
Bahrain has frequently accused Iran of fomenting unrest in the country since 2011 – a charge Tehran denies.
There are fears sectarian strife may spread in the region following the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others in Saudi Arabia on Saturday after they were convicted of terror-related offences.