Bahrain has sentenced one of its citizens and two foreigners to 10 years in prison for spying for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Akhbar al-Khaleej newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Bahrain’s high criminal court sentenced “three defendants to 10 years in prison for spying for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, one of them a Bahraini and two others” who worked as diplomats in Iran’s embassy in Kuwait and were sentenced in absentia, the daily reported.
The prosecution said the three “spied from 2002 until April 2010 in the Kingdom of Bahrain and abroad,” and gave the Guards economic and military information, including the locations of military, industrial and economic installations, Akhbar al-Khaleej said.
The Bahraini was recruited while visiting relatives in Kuwait, it said, adding the Iranians had also spied on the Kuwaiti military, US forces in Kuwait, and oil installations in the emirate.
In Tehran, a foreign ministry official rejected the reports as “incorrect”.
“There is no information regarding arrest or sentencing of Iranian nationals in Bahrain,” a ministry official in charge of Middle East affairs, Hossein Amir Abodolahian, told Mehr news agency.
“There had been past reports that an Iranian national had been arrested and tried by a Bahraini court… Our consul then met with him and it turned out he did not have Iranian nationality,” he added.
In early April, Kuwait expelled three Iranian diplomats it accused of working for an Iranian spy ring, reportedly since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.
Iran in response expelled “several” Kuwaiti diplomats. The row also prompted the Gulf state to recall its ambassador from Tehran.
Iran and Kuwait have, however, reportedly exchanged ambassadors again.
Manama has along with other Gulf states repeatedly accused Iran of interference in Bahrain in connection with Shiite-led pro-reform protests in the tiny Gulf kingdom that were crushed in a bloody March crackdown by security forces.