The government of Bahrain condemned on Sunday Iran's continued "flagrant meddling" in Gulf affairs after the Islamic republic slammed plans for union between the Shiite-majority kingdom and Saudi Arabia.
The cabinet "stresses that Iran's continued flagrant meddling in the internal affairs of the Gulf Cooperation Council is categorically rejected at official and public levels," a statement carried by BNA state news agency said.
Iran's interference represents a "disregard to the GCC's ongoing efforts to achieve integration," it added, referring to plans to strengthen links within the six-nation bloc to form a union likely to start with Bahrian and Saudi Arabia.
Signup to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
The Bahraini government condemned Iranian "statements and actions that violate good-neighbourly rules and all international conventions and agreements," the statement said.
Thousands of Iranians took to the street on Friday answering a call by authorities to protest against a Saudi-Bahrain union.
On Thursday, Tehran's foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said "the proposed union or annexation of Bahrain to Saudi Arabia" would lead to the "disappearance" of the Gulf archipelago.
Tensions have escalated between Iran and its Gulf Arab neighbours since a Saudi-led Gulf force rolled into Bahrain in March 2011 to boost the Sunni-ruled kingdom's security forces, which then crushed a month-old Shiite-led uprising against the regime.
Iran has repeatedly voiced support for the protests in Bahrain and strongly condemned the deployment of Saudi-led forces.