SHAFAQNA – Iranian and French officials in a meeting in Tehran underlined the necessity for continued consultations between the two countries on regional developments.
The issue was raised in a meeting between Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian and French Foreign Ministry’s Director for North Africa and Middle East Jean-François Girault .
During the meeting, the two officials discussed the latest challenges in the Middle-East region, and voiced support for political approaches to settle the regional issues.
The two diplomats also underscored the need for a presidential election in Lebanon as it has been postponed on numerous occasions. They also said the improvement of the situation in Lebanon hinges on consensus among all political parties in the country.
Amir Abdollahian and Girault also discussed the situation in Bahrain, reiterating that national dialogue was the best political approach to end the ongoing tension in the tiny Persian Gulf country.
They also said Manama’s arrest of prominent opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman contravenes the al Khalifa regime’s political commitments.
Al-Wefaq Secretary-General Sheikh Salman was detained by the Manama regime in December and Bahrain has been the scene of intensified popular unrests and clashes with the Saudi-backed Bahraini military forces ever since.
Late last month, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called on Bahrain to release Sheikh Salman.
OHCHR Spokesperson Liz Throssell called for the immediate release of Sheikh Salman “as well as all other persons convicted or detained for merely exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of expression and assembly”.
Sheikh Salman, detained in December, is charged with “promoting regime change by force, threats, and illegal means and of insulting the Interior Ministry publicly”, said Bahraini Prosecutor Nayef Mahmud.
The European Union also warned last month that the arrest of the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society’s leader by the Bahraini regime “carries the risk of jeopardizing an already difficult political and security situation”.
Both the UN and the EU have urged that the only way out of Bahrain’s current crisis is dialogue and national reconciliation.
Bahrain has been witnessing almost daily protests against the Al Khalifa dynasty since early 2011, when an uprising began in the kingdom. Since then, thousands of protesters have held numerous rallies in the streets of Bahrain, calling on the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.