Iran criticizes Bahrain for ‘negligence’ over repatriating its citizens amid coronavirus spread

Press TV – Iran has criticized Manama for failing to cooperate with Tehran in repatriation of Bahraini citizens from the Islamic Republic amid the rapid spread of the coronavirus worldwide.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Wednesday that some 1,300 Bahraini citizens who had traveled to Iran as a tourist or pilgrim were forced to unwittingly extend their stay in the Islamic Republic due to the negligence of the Manama government.

Mousavi said that the Iranian Foreign Ministry has been taking measures in coordination with respective countries of foreign nationals for their return in line with cautious and preventive measures to contain the coronavirus, but added that Bahrain has not been cooperating with Iran in this regard.

“Although many regional countries took measures in collaboration with our country’s officials to return their nationals, unfortunately the Bahraini government, despite the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s readiness for cooperation, has taken no measure to evacuate its citizens,” he added.

The official said unlike Bahrain which had adopted an irresponsible approach vis-à-vis its citizens, Iran was prepared for any cooperation with the Arab country to facilitate the process based on humanitarian grounds, warning that Manama had to accept any consequences for any delay in this regard.

The coronavirus first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

More than 92,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide and the number of deaths from the virus, which is spreading in the Middle East, Europe and other parts of the world, has reached 3,110 globally, according to the World Health Organization.

In Iran, it first showed up in the north-central city of Qom.

Iran has mobilized all its resources to tackle the issue, including increased production and import of hygiene and protective items as well as enforcing diagnostic measures across the nation.