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Bahrain says political groups need permission to meet diplomats, agencies

An order by Bahrain's justice minister says political groups now require government permission to meet with foreign diplomats, an apparent move to further limit Shiite opposition groups that have played a leading role in a more than 30-month uprising in the Gulf nation.

Tuesday's order by Sheik Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa also requires political groups to obtain authorization to meet international organizations outside Bahrain. It also added that a government representative must attend any meeting that is granted.

The order, reported by the official Bahrain News Agency, did not say which political groups fall under the new rules, but it's widely suspected to target Shiite factions whose meetings with U.S. diplomats and others have angered Bahrain's Sunni-led monarchy.

Bahrain has been gripped by unrest since February 2011.