TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi strongly condemned the Bahraini regime for sentencing prominent opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman and two other dissidents to life in prison.

In a statement on Sunday night, Qassemi decried the recent verdict issued by an appellate court in the Persian Gulf Arab state and urged Manama to stop its policing approach.

The spokesman further emphasized that Sheikh Salman pursues moderate and peaceful approaches and avoids violence.

“This verdict leaves no room for any doubt in public opinion and the international community that the Bahraini government does not seek to reform the affairs, but intends to intensify crackdown and further deteriorate the situation,” he added.

Instead of relying on other states and paying high cost for security, Bahraini officials had better resolve the “self-made crisis” in the country through holding real and serious talks with opposition groups and meeting the Bahraini people’s legitimate demands, Qassemi said. 

The senior Bahraini cleric has been in jail on a nine-year prison sentence since late 2014 for what the Manama regime has called “insulting” government officials, “inciting” unrest through his speeches targeting the authorities during the 2011 uprising, attempting to overthrow the regime and collaborating with foreign powers.

Sheikh Salman denies all the charges, saying he has merely been seeking reforms in the country through peaceful means.

Amnesty International and other human rights groups have already censured his arrest and called for his release.