DUBAI/TEHRAN Nov 14 Iran denied on Monday
it had any link to an alleged plot to stage attacks in Bahrain
and a lawyer for two accused men said reports they had confessed
were not true.
Bahrain said last week Qatar had handed over four men who
Manama accuses of planning to attack the Interior Ministry, the
Saudi embassy and a causeway linking Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
It said a fifth was arrested in Bahrain.
On Sunday, a Bahraini prosecution spokesman said the plot
was coordinated with Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the Basij
militia as well as two Bahraini opposition figures in London.
He told state media that some of the men had confessed to
this. But a lawyer for two, speaking to Reuters, said they told
their family by telephone that they had not confessed at all.
The allegation surfaced before the expected release of an
independent rights commission report on the government's
crushing of a democracy protest movement earlier this year.
Bahrain, a U.S. ally which hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet, says
it is implementing measures to expand democratic government and
accuses the main opposition parties of organising protests in
coordination with Iran with a Shi'ite sectarian agenda.
Most of the island state's population is Shi'ite but the
Saudi-allied royal family is Sunni Muslim.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian
said the plot was a fabrication driven by "Iranophobia",
replicating a U.S. claim last month to have uncovered an Iranian
plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington.
"Instead of propagandising and presenting baseless claims,
Bahraini officials should do something about the large rift that
has opened between the government and the people," Abdollahian
said in comments carried by the website of Iran's al-Aalam TV.
"(These) baseless accusations repeat the comical and
fabricated scenario of America."
Mohsen al-Alawi, lawyer for two of the men, said Isa Ahmed
Shamloh, decided to join his friend, driver Ali Abbas Mubarak on
a trip to Saudi Arabia for a change of air. He said the driver
picked up the two others, Mohammed Sahwan and Emad Abdelhussein,
in Saudi Arabia and it was not clear why they had gone to Qatar.
"Shamloh said by telephone that they had not confessed,"
Alawi said, adding he hoped to have access to the men next week.
Bahrain named an Iranian, Asad Qasir, as the Revolutionary
Guards link who trained one of the arrested men in machinegun
and explosives use during a trip to Iran.
Alawi said Qasir was also cited in the case of 21 men
sentenced this year for leading the protests of February and
March. "They are trying to link the cases," Alawi said.
Eight of the 21 men, including politicians, clerics, rights
activists and a blogger, were found guilty of charges including
"forming a terrorist group to change the constitution".
Tension between Iran and U.S.-allied Gulf Arab states has
been high over Iran's nuclear energy programme, which Gulf
rulers fear will give Tehran a nuclear weapon and increase its
prestige among ordinary Arabs as a regional leader.
In Kuwait, the Foreign Ministry summoned Iran's ambassador
on Monday over the arrest of two Kuwaitis whom Tehran had said
were detained with "spying equipment", Kuwaiti state media said.
Kuwait's journalists association said they had entered Iran
legally to prepare a TV programme.
(Additional reporting by Eman Goma in Kuwait; Writing by Andrew