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Hezbollah TV Apologizes to Bahrain

Al Manar's apology for biased coverage seen as part of rapprochement between Iran, Gulf states.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/9/2013, 9:00 AM

Hezbollah flag
Hezbollah flag
AFP photo

A satellite channel affiliated with Shiite Lebanese militia Hezbollah offered its apology to Bahrain on Saturday for not being “neutral” when reporting about events in the Gulf kingdom, Bahrain's news agency reported.

Al-Manar channel confirmed in a statement announced in a meeting for the Arab States Broadcasting Union in Tunis that it apologized to Bahrain.

It also expressed a future commitment to adopt objectivity when covering news coming from the Arab countries.

Reporting on the apology, Al Arabiya explained that the majority-Shiite Bahrain, ruled by a Sunni monarchy, was the first Arab state to blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist group. Bahrain has long accused Hezbollah, which is an Iranian proxy, of meddling in its internal affairs.

The Kuwaiti columnist Mashaal al-Nami, meanwhile, told Al Arabiya News Channel that al-Manar giving an apology to Bahrain is “an indication that the so-called Hezbollah and its media organizations directly belong to the Iranian regime, and that they work according to the Iranian policy in the region.”

Iran is currently following a reconciliatory policy towards the Gulf states, in an attempt to allay their concerns regarding the interim deal it struck with the P5+1 powers, regarding its nuclear weapons program. As part of this effort,  Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited four Gulf states last week.

“This apology came in the context of the Iranian-Gulf rapprochement,” al-Nami said.

However, the writer warned, “the entire Iranian rapprochement is a temporary issue and nothing more than maneuvers.”

“Iran is unable to abandon the gains that it made over the last thirty years in its course which had depended on intervention in the affairs of neighboring countries.”