Iran on Friday described Bahrain’s hosting of Israel’s foreign minister, who the previous day inaugurated the Jewish state’s embassy in Manama, as “shameful”.
Iran and Israel are sworn enemies and Bahrain is one of four Arab nations to have normalized ties with the Jewish state over the past year or so.
Sunni-ruled Bahrain has faced unrest among its large Shiite community which it has consistently blamed on Iran, charges that Tehran denies.
“The shameful welcoming by Bahraini leaders to… the regime occupying Jersualem” took place “against the will of the Bahraini nation,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh announced in a statement.
The comments came after Israel’s top diplomat Yair Lapid on Thursday inaugurated his country’s embassy in Bahrain, a year after the two countries normalized ties and in a first official visit by a foreign minister of the Jewish state to the Gulf kingdom.
Lapid met King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, in what Israeli media said was the first public meeting of a Gulf monarch with an Israeli official.
Khatibzadeh deplored “all initiatives seeking to stabilize the destructive presence of Israel in the region.”
This rising presence “will lead to further escalation and insecurity”, he added.
Alongside Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco have all normalized ties with Israel over the past year.
The Gulf monarchy cut ties with Iran in 2016.
Iran meanwhile refuses to recognize Israel and consistently positions itself as a defender of the Palestinian cause.