Iran said it welcomes the end of Bahrain’s longstanding state of emergency, calling it a positive step toward meeting the people’s demands.

ISNA quotes Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi saying: “We continue to stress the need for independence, national rule and the territorial integrity of all countries, including Bahrain.”

He emphasized that Bahrain’s problems are internal; therefore, foreign troops must leave the country.

Salehi added that “dialogue between the people and the Bahraini government” will lead to “mutual trust and the realization of the people’s demands, which will finally establish stability and peace.”

Hamad Bin Issa Al-Khalifa, Bahrain’s monarch, finally ended the state of emergency on June 1. He had imposed it in mid-March following weeks of pro-democracy protests in Manama.

Demonstrators have been calling for political and constitutional reform, resulting in widespread civil disobedience, hunger strikes and a violent crackdown on protesters.

When Bahrain asked for help from fellow members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, UAE and Saudi Arabia sent 1,500 troops to Manama.

Iran has condemned the presence of foreign troops in Bahrain and expressed support for a peaceful resolution to the protests through dialogue and negotiation. That has caused serious diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

Bahrain and GCC members are concerned that Iran, as the largest Shiite country, is trying to gain influence in Bahrain by supporting the protesters, who are largely from the majority Shiite population.