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Bahrain, the 33-island archipelago in the Persian Gulf

Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On May 11, 1970 AD, as per UN Security Council Resolution 278, Bahrain was declared an independent state, following a so-called opinion poll conducted among tribal leaders and selective groups in the 33-island archipelago by Vittorio Winspeare-Giucciardi, Manager of the United Nations office in Geneva, in the aftermath of Tehran's demand for a referendum to determine the Bahraini people's views for return to Iran's sovereignty.
Throughout history, dating from pre-Islamic times, Bahrain has been an integral part of Iran. After the advent of Islam and weakening of the Abbasid caliphate, Bahrain was part of the Baghdad-based Iranian Buwaiyhid Empire, followed by the sovereignty over it of Seljuqid Iran, Ilkhanid Iran, Safavid Iran, Qajarid Iran, as well as the brief rules in between by Nader Shah Afshar and Karim Khan Zand.
It was in the early 1800s, during a period of weakening of Qajarid rule that Bahrain was seized by pirates of the tribe of Aal-e Khalifa who were driven from their area of operation in the Khor Abdullah waterway between Kuwait and Iraq by the Ottoman Turkish governor of Basra. The Aal-e Khalifa brutally subdued the Shi'ite Muslim majority of Bahrain, both Arabs and Iranians, and sought British protection to prevent Iran from retaking it.
Iran, however, continued to protest to Britain for its occupation of what Tehran considered a part of its soil. After World War 2 and in view of Britain's plan to withdraw from all its colonial possessions in the Persian Gulf, Iran pressed hard for a referendum that unnerved the Aal-e Khalifa minority regime and made it further repress the aspirations of the Bahraini people.
Iran's parliament passed a bill in November 1957 declaring Bahrain to be the 14th province of Iran, with two empty seats allocated for its representatives. At this time, Britain set out to change the demographics of Bahrain through its policy of “de-Iranisation” which included importing a large number of different Arabs and others from British colonies as labourers.
Demonstrations in 1956 forced the Aal-e Khalifa rulers to leave Manama (the capital) for the village of Refae al-Gharbi where only the Sunni Arab minority resides. Mass demonstrations against the detested rule of the Aal-e Khalifa regime have continued periodically in Bahrain, despite its sellout by the British-installed and American-supported Pahlavi Shah following the so-called opinion poll of 1970 by the UN.
Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Iran has followed a policy of peace and dialogue, but with firm insistence on the aspirations of the people of Bahrain, who like all other nations of the world want to determine their own destiny. Today Bahrain is again the scene of mass rallies for independence, while the ruling minority regime, along with mercenaries hired from abroad and with the help of the Saudi invasion troops, is shedding innocent blood and even desecrating mosques and burning copies of the holy Qur'an.

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