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Iran, Bahrain Ministers Meet, First Time Since Diplomatic Dispute


Tehran says the foreign ministers of Iran and Bahrain have met in New York, in what appears to be the first time since the two countries withdrew their ambassadors in a diplomatic squabble over Bahrain's crackdown on Shi'ite-led protests.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and his Bahraini counterpart Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmad al-Khalifa held talks late Monday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting.

Iranian media report Iran's foreign minister told the Bahraini diplomat that Bahrain's Sunni minority government should try to solve the current political crisis by opening a dialogue with the people.

Shi'ite protesters in Bahrain complain of discrimination by the ruling al-Khalifa family. They also call for a greater say in the affairs of the island state.

Bahrain's ruling al-Khalifa family began a national dialogue with the opposition on political reforms in July, but Shi'ite politicians walked out, accusing the ruling family of not being committed to real change.

In March, Bahrain's government condemned Iranian statements against the crackdown as a "blatant interference" in the island state's affairs and withdrew its ambassador in Iran for consultations.

Iran reacted by recalling its ambassador to Bahrain in protest against the crackdown.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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