Bahrain adopts series of measures to counter Iran \'interference\'

Friday 19/02/2016
Towards protecting religious discourse against extremism

MANAMA - Bahrain said Sunday it has adopted measures including travel curbs and monitoring of money transfers to counter Iran's "interference" in the Sunni-ruled kingdom shaken by Shiite-led unrest since 2011.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Al-Khalifa spoke of the "dangers of Iran's interference in the internal security" of Bahrain during a meeting with clerics, MPs and newspaper chiefs, said the official BNA news agency.
"We have taken a series of measures to confront the dangers of terrorism," Sheikh Rashid said.
These include forming a committee to monitor money transfers and donations to combat the "financing of terrorism" and imposing travel restrictions on citizens, especially aged between 14 and 18, to "unsafe countries", he said.
Bahrain has previously announced the dismantling of "terror" cells whose members it said were trained by Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards and Lebanon's Tehran-backed Shiite movement Hezbollah.
Sheikh Rashid said authorities will also take measures to "protect religious discourse against religious and political extremism as well as incitement".
Authorities will confront any "attempts to politicise" Shiite religious rituals, the interior minister said.
Bahrain's Shiite majority often use the annual ceremony commemorating Ashura to call for political reforms such as transforming the kingdom into a constitutional monarchy -- a key opposition demand.
Manama accuses Shiite Iran of backing the Bahraini opposition.
In November, Bahrain said it had uncovered a "terrorist organisation" linked to Tehran and arrested its members, which Sheikh Rashid said numbered 76 suspects.
"We do not accuse anyone without substantial evidence," he said Sunday.
Bahrain, just across the Gulf from Iran and home to the US Fifth Fleet, has seen frequent clashes between protesters and security forces in Shiite villages since a Shiite-led uprising was crushed five years ago.

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