Bahrein accuses Iran of biological aggression, 77 new contagions among citizens evacuated from the Islamic Republic of Iran
As many of the recorded infections throughout the Gulf region are linked to travel to Iran, which hosts several important shrines and pilgrimage sites for Shia Muslims, Bahrain accused Iran on Thursday of “biological aggression” by covering up the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and failing to stamp Bahraini travellers’ passports. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) data, the death toll continued to rise in Iran, while Gulf Arab states took new steps to contain the spread of the new Chinese virus, with Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority saying anyone diagnosed with coronavirus was forbidden from attending Friday prayers.
Attendance is generally mandatory for able-bodied men in Islam, but Riyadh said those under quarantine and those afraid of being infected or infecting others need not attend. “With this behaviour, Iran has allowed the disease to travel abroad, and in my estimation this constitutes a form of biological aggression that is criminalised by international law, as it has put in danger our safety and health and that of others,” Bahraini Interior Minister General Sheikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa affirmed on Twitter. In an apparent answer to Al Khalifa’s comments, Amir Abdollahian, special aide to Iran’s parliamentary speaker, attacked USA saying on Twitter: “America, which rules Bahrain through the presence of its Fifth Fleet, is a major cause of biological warfare and initially denied the existence of coronavirus.”
No Gulf Arab state has reported a coronavirus death as of yet, but Bahrain yesterday reported 77 new contagions among citizens evacuated from the Islamic Republic of Iran, and a second government-chartered repatriation flight was scheduled for Thursday. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi has denied that not stamping passports has anything to do with coronavirus and called on Riyadh to avoid politicising the epidemic.