Iran has rejected claims it was involved in an oil pipeline blast near Bahrain’s capital, Manama, calling the allegations “baseless and cheap”.
An explosion ripped through the pipeline near the village of Buri late on Friday night, damaging cars and nearby buildings and sending flames up into the night sky.
Bahrain’s interior minister, Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa, said in a statementthat the blast was “the latest example of a terrorist act performed by terrorists in direct contact with, and under instruction from, Iran”.
He did not say what caused the explosion, nor did he name any suspects.
No one was injured in the explosion and there was no claim of responsibility for it.
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa later said that the explosion had targeted a pipeline running between his country and neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
This “is a dangerous Iranian escalation aimed at terrorising citizens and damaging the world’s oil industry”, the minister posted on Twitter.
Bahram Qassemi, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson, was quoted by state-run IRNA news agency as saying on Sunday: “It seems the only thing that Bahraini officials have learned to do after any incident in the island is pinning the blame on Iran.
“They should know that the era of making such absurd and false statements and the time of playing such childish blame-games has come to an end.”
Bahrain has seen since incidents of sporadic violence since 2011 when tens of thousands of the country’s majority Shia Muslims demanded reforms and greater rights from the Sunni-controlled kingdom.
The government crushed the protests with the help of its Sunni Arab Gulf allies suspicious of Iran and opposed to a growing Shia influence across the region.