A Bahraini criminal court will try a Bahraini and two Iranians on charges of spying for Iran's Revolutionary Guard on April 20, Gulf News reports.

The alleged spies are accused of "intelligence contacts with a group of people working for a foreign country with the intention of undermining Bahrain's military, political and economic status and harming the nation's interests."

Court documents said the three unamed defendents had contacts with Iran's Revolutionary Guard from 2002 to April 2010 to provide them with military and economic information, and data on military and industrial sites in Bahrain in a bid to harm the country's national interests.

The defendants, the documents said, also requested money from the Revolutionary Guard in return for the military and economic information.

The trial comes as Bahrain is working to suppress an uprising among its Shiite Muslim minority. Iran is ruled by religious leaders from the Shiite sect, and the Iranian-backed Hizbullah group has openly offered to assist Shiite rebels in Bahrain.

Kuwait ring
The trial of the two Iranians in Bahrain on espionage charges comes days after a criminal court in Kuwait sentenced two Iranians and a Kuwaiti to death for participating in a spy ring discovered by Kuwaiti authorities in May 2010.

The verdict sparked angry remarks from Kuwait, and strong denials from Iran, as the two countries expelled diplomats in the ensuing row. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the existence of a spy network in Kuwait and said there was nothing to spy on in the northernmost Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country.

However, Kuwait's foreign minister insisted the Iranian spy ring was real. Several Kuwaiti MPs, angered by Tehran's reaction, have called for completely severing diplomatic ties.

GCC countries have been concerned about what they see as blatant Iranian interference in their domestic affairs, particularly after Tehran criticised Manama and Riyadh for the deployment of units from the Peninsula Shield, the GCC military arm, in Bahrain last month.

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