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Iran rejects Gulf claims of 'interference'

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Iran rejected Tuesday claims by the Gulf Cooperation Council that it is interfering in the grouping's internal affairs, insisting that Tehran stays away from domestic issues of other countries.

"Iran's intervention in Bahrain's affairs is a claim contrary to reality and it is made in order to escape from the real problems and will bear no results," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said at his weekly press conference.

"We have not, are not, will not interfere in the domestic issues of any country."

Bahrain, one of the six Arab monarchies making up the GCC, at the weekend urged the council to stand united against Iran's "interference".

The GCC "looks forward towards better relations with Iran, but unfortunately the latter continues to interfere in their internal affairs," said Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled al-Khalifa.

"It is important for our countries to stand united against such interference" from the Shiite Islamic republic across the Gulf, Sunni-ruled Bahrain's top diplomat said.

Bahrain in February accused Iran of having formed a "terrorist cell" to foster violence in the kingdom.

The claim was the latest in a series of accusations against Iran that it backs activists demanding a greater say for the Shiite majority in Bahrain's politics.

Mehmanparast said Bahrain should listen to its own people.

He urged Bahrain "to seek correct solutions for its problems -- which is listening to the legitimate demands of their own people instead of taking military and security action."

Bahrain has witnessed two years of political upheaval linked to opposition demands for a real constitutional monarchy, with the unrest claiming at least 80 lives, according to international rights groups.

Aside from Bahrain, the GCC comprises Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Oman.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130305/iran-rejects-gulf-claims-interference