Bahrain urges citizens against travel to Iran

Bahrain urges citizens against travel to Iran
Bahrain warned its citizens not to travel to Iran "under any circumstances" as the Islamic Republic continued to crackdown on nationwide protests.
2 min read
02 January, 2018
The kingdom issued a statement on Twitter [File Photo: AFP]

The Gulf state of Bahrain called on its citizens not to travel to Iran "under any circumstances" as authorities continued to tackle nationwide protests on Monday.

The foreign ministry also urged any Bahrainis in the Islamic republic to leave immediately, according to a statement issued on Twitter.

It cautioned that Iran was seeing "large-scale disturbances and an unstable security situation" as well as "grave acts of violence".

Shia Muslims, the majority in the small kingdom of Bahrain, generally travel to Iran for religious reasons.

But relations between the monarchy and Iran are strained over allegations by Manama that Tehran interferes in its internal affairs.

Bahrain is the first Gulf Arab state to issue a travel warning for Iran where scores of people were killed, including a policeman, in the worst street violence so far since protests broke out on Thursday.

The latest demonstrations came despite President Hassan Rouhani's vow that the nation would deal with "rioters and lawbreakers".

Rouhani played down the unrest, which began in second city Mashhad last Thursday and quickly spread across the country to become the biggest test for the regime since mass protests in 2009.

"This is nothing," Rouhani said in a statement on the presidency website.

"Our nation will deal with this minority who chant slogans against the law and people's wishes, and insult the sanctities and values of the revolution."

Pro-regime rallies were held across several towns and cities. 

Rouhani came to power in 2013 promising to mend the economy and ease social tensions, but high living costs and a 12 percent unemployment rate have left many feeling that progress is too slow.