An official statement on Bahrain’s state news agency BNA said on Saturday that regime forces had detained 116 members of a “terror” cell and thwarted a number of attacks across the country and seized large quantities of arms and explosives.
The statement claimed that the suspects had links with Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). Iran has on several occasion categorically denied supporting any bid to overthrow the Bahraini regime.
Last month, Bahrain’s Interior Ministry said the country had arrested four Bahraini men suspected of bombing a Saudi Aramco oil pipeline outside the capital Manama on November 10 last year, accusing Iran of training and arming two of the suspects.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry was quick to respond, dismissing the accusation as “fabricated and baseless” and called on the Bahraini rulers to stop the “awkward and delusional blame game” against Iranian institutions.
Bahrain is home to US Fifth Fleet, and considers itself as a major American ally in the region while a major British naval base is also under construction in the tiny Persian Gulf state.
Manama’s closeness to the UK and US has made the regime more arrogant despite harsh criticism from international rights groups over its crackdown on dissent.
Since February 14, 2011, Bahraini people have been holding peaceful protest rallies on an almost daily basis, demanding that the Al Khalifah family relinquish power and let a just system representing all Bahrainis be established.
Bahrainis have also been complaining against widespread discrimination against the Shia majority in the kingdom.
Manama has responded to the protests with lethal force, drawing international criticism. In March 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were also deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.