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Bahrain Chamber Urges Boycott of Iranian Goods

Saudi FM Prince Saudi al-Faisal, left, speaks with Bahrain's FM Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmad al-Khalifa, left, before the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council 'GCC', in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 1, 2011

Bahrain's chamber of commerce has called for Gulf Arab nationals to boycott Iranian goods and halt all financial transactions with Tehran in retaliation for alleged interference in the island kingdom's unrest.

State media reports Sunday quoted a statement from the Bahrain Chamber for Commerce and Industry calling on all Bahraini traders, businessmen and companies to boycott Iranian goods and stop import-export dealings with Iranian counterparts.

The chamber's Saturday statement requested an end to all transactions with Iranian banks and financial institutions. It also appealed to the other five nations in the Gulf Cooperation Council to join the proposed embargo.

The GCC includes Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Relations between Shi'ite Iran and the Gulf Arab states have deteriorated since Saudi Arabia and the UAE sent troops into Bahrain to crush protests by the country's Shi'ite majority against the Sunni-led monarchy.

Bahrain blames Iran for stoking the demonstrations, which have called for democratic reforms and an end to sectarian discrimination in the tiny Gulf Arab state. Bahraini Shi'ites make up 70 percent of the country's population but are excluded from key government and security posts.

Iran has denounced Gulf leaders for sending the Saudi-led military force, but denies direct involvement in the protests.

Bahrain, a strategic Gulf nation and home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, was hit by a month-long protest wave that began in mid-February amid a broader revolt roiling across the Arab world.

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

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