Iran says Israel FM’s visit left a ‘blot’ on Bahrain

Iran described Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s recent visit to Bahrain as a “blot” on the Gulf monarchy.

“This stain will not be erased from the reputation of Bahrain’s rulers,” state IRNA news agency quoted Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh as saying.

“The people of the region will continue to resist the process of normalizing ties with the Zionist regime,” Khatibzadeh said.

Lapid opened the Israeli embassy in Manama Thursday, a year after Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates established diplomatic relations with Israel in a normalization deal mediated by the Trump administration. In Bahrain’s capital, Lapid met King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

At a joint press conference with Lapid, Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani reiterated his country’s support for a two-state solution that represents “the rights, interests and aspirations of all parties”. He added that Bahrain has chosen “peace and dialogue as a strategic option”.

Bahrain’s normalization with Israel last year was denounced by the Palestinians as a violation of the 2002 Arab peace initiative, which called on Israel to withdraw from territories conquered since 1967 before receiving any recognition from Arab states. The Iranian government labeled the ties as “shameful”.

“It is unfortunate that Bahrain’s rulers are ignoring the daily crimes of the Zionist regime against the oppressed but resilient people of Palestine,” Khatibzadeh said on Thursday.

A spokesman for the Gaza-based militant group Hamas also denounced Lapid’s visit to Bahrain, saying it encouraged “Israel’s crimes against our people.”

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