Bahrain has condemned Iran’s criticism of the union between the Gulf Island Kingdom and Saudi Arabia, describing it as “flagrant meddling” in its affairs.

AFP reports that the Bahraini cabinet said on Sunday: “Iran’s continued flagrant meddling in the internal affairs of the Gulf Cooperation Council is categorically rejected at official and public levels.”

The announcement says Iran’s actions are in complete “disregard to the GCC’s ongoing efforts to achieve integration.”

The GCC has announced plans to establish a union among the six member states, and the first members may be Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Bahrain’s government says Iran’s “statements and actions violate good-neighbourly rules and all international conventions and agreements.”

A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Ramin Mehmanparast, has said the “the proposed union or annexation of Bahrain to Saudi Arabia would result in the complete “disappearance” of the Gulf archipelago.

Iranian relations with the Gulf States have been under strain since protests in Shiite-majority Bahrain were severely suppressed by the Sunni government and later put down with the intervention of Saudi and UAE troops in Bahrain.

Iran has condemned the clampdown on protesters and the deployment of foreign troops in Bahrain.