Bahrain apologizes to Iran for ”insulting” cartoon
Bahrain's Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa, in an official reply highlighted "friendly" bilateral relations and voiced regret over Bahraini newspaper Al Ayam's cartoon, Iran Daily reported on Monday.
According to Iran's Foreign Ministry Media Department, the note was submitted to Iran's Ambassador in Manama Mohammad Farazmand on Saturday by Bahraini Minister of Information and Advisor on Foreign Affairs Muhammad Abdelghafar Abdullah.
In the message, Bahrain's foreign minister emphasized that his country respects Iran's leader and Iranian senior officials, and friendly relations between the two countries. He condemned any action by his country's mass media to disrupt such ties and expressed regret over the Bahraini newspaper's action.
Ahead of the reply, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi, issued a harsh warning to other countries not to offend Iran's rulers.
The cartoon was published in Bahrain's Al Ayyam newspaper late last month, and showed Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei next to a graph representing the recent presidential election. It shows the supreme leader's beard growing on the graph in an upward zigzag, suggesting he played a significant role in the victory of the ultra-conservative candidate, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The newspaper defended its decision as the manifestation of its freedom of expression.