Bahrain's Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) on Tuesday suspended joint business councils with Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, Gulf News reports.
"We decided to freeze the joint councils as senior officials from these countries kept issuing statements that could not be accepted or tolerated and that clashed with the principles and values of good neighborhood [sic] and political relations," the BCCI said.
The move underscores continued tensions
between the six-member, Arab Sunni-ruled Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Shiite-Persian Iran, whom GCC members accuse of meddling in their internal affairs.
Bahrain, a GCC member, has been at the center of a rhetorical shooting war with Iran, and Hizbullah-ruled Lebanon, since GCC Peninsula Shield forces were brought in to quell unrest
by the Sunni-monarchy's Shiite majority. This occurred after riots broke out earlier this year
. Hizbullah is widely regarded as being an Iranian proxy.
"Iran's flagrant interference in Bahrain's internal affairs has been through the media mobilization against Bahrain and the diplomatic moves that targeted Manama and the other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) capitals. Some parties in Lebanon have also worked on creating chaos, boosting tension and sowing divisions between Bahrainis," BCCI said
Iraq, which has to date been uninvolved in the ongoing Shia-Sunni saber-rattling in the Gulf, has a Shiite minority with significant political influence in Iraq's US-sponsored, post-Saddam Hussein government.