MANAMA, Bahrain – Bahrain's Interior Ministry says the Gulf state has decided to deport a leading Shiite cleric in a move that could exacerbate tensions between the government and the Shiite-led opposition.
The ministry announced its decision to deport Hussein al-Najati on Wednesday, saying that he "was not transparent and did not communicate" with Bahraini officials about his situation in the country.
Al-Najati is the Bahrain representative for Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's most powerful Shiite figure.
The ministry says he was born in Bahrain in 1960 to Bahraini residents of Iranian nationality, left for a brief time in the 1970s, and then departed again for Iran in 1980. He returned to Bahrain in 2001. It says his citizenship was ordered to be withdrawn in 2012.
Bahrain hosts the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet.