Bahrain Shiite opposition urges Iran not to 'meddle'
AFP, Wednesday 30 Mar 2011
Bahrain opposition leader Ali Salman urges Iran keep distance, demands withdrawal of Saudi-led troops

Bahrain's Shiite opposition leader on Wednesday urged Shiite Iran to keep out of the Arab country's internal affairs, after government charges that Tehran had orchestrated month-long protests.

Ali Salman also warned against Bahrain being used for a proxy war between rival regional superpowers Iran and Saudi Arabia.

"We urge Iran not to meddle in Bahraini internal affairs," he told a press conference, also demanding the withdrawal of Saudi-led Gulf troops deployed in the kingdom in mid-March to help quash the protests.

"We demand Saudi Arabia withdraw the Peninsula Shield forces," he said. "We do not want Bahrain to turn into a battlefield for Saudi Arabia and Iran."

Twenty-four people, four of them police, were killed in a month of unrest, Bahrain's Interior Minister Rashed bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa said on Wednesday, linking the troubles to Lebanon's Iran-backed Shiite group Hezbollah.