A number of Iranian hardline media outlets are presently running articles condemning the Bahraini government for its treatment of the country’s Shia political leadership. On 20 October, the offices of Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, a large Shia political party, were reportedly raided by the Bahraini authorities. Calling it a “historical and strategic mistake,” the Iranian foreign ministry is calling on Manama to reach a political settlement on the issue of Shia political representation in Bahrain.
While a successful dialogue between Bahrain’s Shia and Sunni political leaderships is a necessary step to end the political deadlock in Bahrain, the Iranian propaganda campaign against government in Manama is at once both a case of intervention in the affairs of a sovereign state while at the same time unhelpful as long as it is one-sided.
Meanwhile, the use of a sectarian message on the part of some Iranian political and religious leaders, including some senior clergy, to delegitimize the Bahraini government is more than just a case of interference in the domestic affairs of Bahrain. It is in fact contributing to fueling sectarianism across the region. The Iranian interference in Bahrain comes as Tehran itself always reacts vehemently when its domestic policies come under question by outsiders.