Qatar on Thursday expressed a regret to some Iranian officials’ “infringement” against Bahrain’s sovereignty and independence, reported the Qatar News Agency.

“Such negative statements constitute an infringement on the sovereignty” of a member state of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), an official source at the Qatari Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying.

A number of Iranian officials have reportedly claimed that Bahrain was an integral part of the Islamic Republic of Iran and questioned its Arabic identity.

Voicing a regret from the Qatari side, the Foreign Ministry source said that the Iranians’ remarks hampered effort made by GCC states and their sincere interest in building relations of friendship and cooperation between them and Iran.

The GCC-Iranian ties has been marked by amity, mutual respect, good neighborliness and non-intervention in states’ internal affairs to strengthen relations of cooperation and to serve the region’s peoples, said the source.

Iranian officials’ sovereignty claims have also drawn criticism from Kuwait and Arab organizations.

In its weekly meeting, the Kuwaiti cabinet on Monday expressed its dismay over the “negative” remarks, saying it would “hinder efforts exerted by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and its sincere desire to build a relationship of friendship and cooperation with Iran.”

However, Iran’s Foreign Ministry has appeared to clarify its official stance as its spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said Thursday that “we have repeatedly said that we respect sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all neighboring countries and we have no claim on Bahrain.”

Bahrain was a British protectorate after 1861, and became independent in 1971. In its ancient history, the Gulf country has brought rule and influence from many foreign nations due to its strategic location.

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