Iran rejects Bahrain claims of collusion in pipeline blast

Iran rejects Bahrain claims of collusion in pipeline blast
An oil pipeline between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia was destroyed last November. Manama has accused Iran of blowing up the pipeline, a claim Tehran strongly rejects.
2 min read
08 February, 2018
Bahrain has accused Iran of a blast at an oil pipeline [AFP]
Iran has strongly denied it played any role in the blast at a major oil pipeline running from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia last year.

Iran's foreign ministry said it "dismisses Bahrain's baseless, false claims" after Manama arrested four men on Tuesday accusing them of links to Iran and holding them responsible for November's explosion.

"It is better for Bahraini officials to establish serious dialogue with their people to put an end to the crisis in the country instead of raising worn-out claims... and suppressing the legitimate demands of their people," the statement continued.

A Saudi Aramco pipeline was forced to go offline last November, after a blast at the works outside the Bahraini capital Manama.

Bahrain accused its arch-rival Iran of sabotage with oil imports to the island from Saudi Arabia being temporarily suspended.

This week, Bahrain announced it had uncovered an Iranian-backed "terrorist cell" called the "February 14 Coalition", named after the date protests against the Manama government broke out in 2011.

Four men were arrested, while Manama said three more suspects were on the run and two of those believed to be hiding out in Iran.

Authorities claimed the alleged militants were trained in Iran by the Revolutionary Guard and provided with the weapons need to carry out the attack.

"The terrorists in Bahrain were recruited and their expenses for travelling to Iran were provided under the guise of donations for visiting religious places. They were trained in making and using bombs," Bahrain's interior ministry claimed. 

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi condemned Manama's accusation as "delusional" and "clumsy".

Bahrain has accused Iran of being behind attacks on security forces and state infrastructure in recent years.

They follow popular protests that broke out in 2011 against the government. Demonstrations were violently suppressed after a Saudi-led military police force entered the island at the request of Manama.

Most of the protesters were part of Bahrain's Shia majority who have long complained of marginalisation at the hands of the Sunni royal family.