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Iran Denies Involvement In Bahrain Pipeline Blast

FILE: Bahraini forces raid a speedboat manned by Shi’ite militant fugitives it says were heading for Iran from Bahrain’s northeastern coast in February 9.

Iran has rejected claims that it was behind an explosion that caused a fire at Bahrain's main oil pipeline as "baseless and cheap."

Bahraini authorities "should know that the era of making such absurd and false statements and the time of playing such childish blame-games has come to an end," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said in a statement on November 12.

Bahrain's Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa earlier said that the explosion at the oil pipeline near the village of Buri late on November 10 was a "dangerous act of terrorism."

"Terrorist acts witnessed by the country in the recent period are carried out through direct contacts and instructions from Iran," Khalifa said in November 11 statement.

No group has claimed the explosion, which damaged several buildings.

Bahrain's Interior Ministry said the authorities closed the flow of oil to the stricken pipeline and brought the fire under control.

Saudi Arabia's Energy Ministry said that the kingdom was increasing security precautions at all its facilities.

Bahrain relies on the pipeline running between the Persian Gulf island state and neighboring Saudi Arabia for much of its oil.

Bahrain, a Shi'a-majority kingdom ruled by a Sunni dynasty, is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet and a British military base is currently under construction.

The island faces occasional attacks from local Shi'ite militant groups as it continues a crackdown on dissent, imprisoning or forcing opponents into exile.

The government denies it discriminates against Shi'a and accuses neighboring Iran of stirring up tensions -- an accusation rejected by Iran.

Tensions in the region intensified after a ballistic missile fired from Yemen was intercepted earlier this month near the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman accused Iran of "direct military aggression" by supplying missiles to Huthi Shi'ite rebels in Yemen. Tehran denies any involvement.

With reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters