FILE PHOTO: The flags of Israel and Bahrain flutter along a road in Netanya, Israel September 14, 2020. REUTERS/Nir Elias/File Photo/File Photo

 – Bahrain, which cut diplomatic ties with Iran in 2016 a day after Saudi Arabia did so because of attacks on the Saudi embassy in Tehran, is likely to resume them “sometime soon,” the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East said on Tuesday.

Protesters in Shi’ite majority Iran had attacked the Saudi embassy in anger at Riyadh’s execution of a leading Shi’ite cleric in 2016, prompting Sunni majority Saudi Arabia to cut ties.

The regional rivals announced in March they would restore diplomatic ties and Iran reopened its embassy in Riyadh on June 6.

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Speaking about the possibility of Bahrain restoring diplomatic ties with Iran, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf told lawmakers, “I think it will happen sometime soon.”

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(Reporting By Simon Lewis in Washington and Arshad Mohammed in Saint Paul, Minn.; editing by Grant McCool)