March 16, 2011 / 12:07 PM / 8 years ago

Iran says Bahrain crackdown unjustifiable

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Bahrain’s crackdown on mainly Shi’ite protesters on Wednesday was “unjustifiable and irreparable,” according to state television.

“Today, we witness the degree of pressure imposed on the majority of people in Bahrain and (they) use rifles and cannon ... What has happened is bad, unjustifiable and irreparable,” Ahmadinejad said.

Bahraini forces, backed by helicopters, fired tear gas in a crackdown on protesters on Wednesday, clearing hundreds from a camp that had become the symbol of an uprising by the island’s Shi’ite Muslim majority.

About 1,000 Saudi soldiers entered Bahrain on Monday as part of an effort by the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to help the government cope with the Shi’ite protests.

The crackdown has alarmed Iran, the main Shi’ite power in the Gulf where most ruling families are Sunni Arabs.

On Sunday the mostly Shi’ite demonstrators overwhelmed Bahraini police and blocked the highway to the main financial district in the most violent confrontations since troops killed seven protesters last month.

Intervention in Bahrain by Gulf Arab troops is highly sensitive.

Iran, which is facing down opposition protests at home, has welcomed uprisings across the Arab Middle East as an “Islamic awakening” against despotic rulers.

Accusations abound of Iranian backing for activists among the Shi’ite majority in Bahrain, a charge Tehran has denied.

Editing by Tim Pearce

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