In a move defiant to international calls, Manama released a decree signed by Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa showing his endorsement for the move to revoke the citizenship of senior Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim.
According to Bahraini media reports on Sunday, King Hamad officially approved the decree to revoke the prominent Shia cleric’s citizenship shortly after it was issued two weeks ago.
The Eremnews website also reported that King Hamad separately announced his endorsement on Saturday. Since Manama’s measure, Bahrain has been the scene of multiple protests and demonstrations in support of Sheikh Qassim.
Several sit-ins have also been held outside Sheikh Isa Qassim’s home in the northwestern village of Diraz.
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iran’s former ambassador to Bahrain, stressed that King Hamad’s actions will undoubtedly throw the country deeper into turmoil.
“Bahrain’s government should know that the solution to the country’s problems is solely a political one… Al Khalifa must depend upon its people,” added the newly appointed adviser to the Iranian foreign minister.
On June 20, Bahrain’s Interior Ministry announced in a statement that the Al Khalifah regime has revoked Sheikh Qassim’s citizenship, claiming that he had actively sought “creation of a sectarian environment” through his connections with foreign powers, and that he had misused his religious position to advance a political agenda and serve foreign interests.
Since February 14, 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis, calling for the Al Khalifah family to relinquish power.
Troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been deployed to the country to assist the Bahraini government in its crackdown on peaceful protests.