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Bahrain: Gulf Troops Needed Against Iran Threat


Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheik Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa speaks during a press conference in Manama, Bahrain

Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheik Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa speaks during a press conference in Manama, Bahrain

Bahrain's foreign minister says troops from neighboring Gulf countries will stay in his island nation until its rulers believe that threats from Iran have eased.

Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said the Gulf force is needed to counter what he called a "sustained campaign'' by Iran in Bahrain.

Bahrain's Sunni monarchy last month invited 1,500 troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to help battle a Shi'ite uprising.

Sunni Gulf leaders, including Saudi Arabia, believe unrest in Bahrain clears the way for greater influence by Shi'ite powerhouse Iran.

Bahrain's Shi'ite majority has been staging demonstrations since February, demanding more freedom and equal rights.

Bahraini officials say the protests are backed by Iran. Tehran has denounced the deployment of a Saudi-led force to help prop up Bahrain's monarchy and condemned the crackdown.

Iran on Friday demanded that the United Nations Security Council protect opposition activists in Bahrain.

In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi asked for "a serious and immediate action by the Security Council over suppressing people's demands in Bahrain using military force".

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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