Bahrain halts gas talks with Iran over 'insulting comment'

February 19, 2009 14:58

Bahrain's foreign minister says the kingdom halted negotiations on a natural gas imports deal with Iran after a Teheran official insulted this tiny Gulf island. The insult stemmed from recent remarks attributed to a former Iranian parliament speaker who publicly stated that Bahrain used to be the 14th province of Iran. Sheik Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa said the remarks were an "infringement of sovereignty" and a "distortion of historical fact." Khalid spoke to reporters following meetings on Thursday with visiting foreign ministers of Turkey and Russia. Bahrain-Iran relations were strained following the 1979 Iranian revolution but started to thaw after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited in 2007, when the gas deal was first discussed.

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