Bahrain to resume air route to Iran that it cut over claims Tehran supporting kingdom uprising

Bahrain's flagship carrier Gulf Air says it will resume routes to Iran more than two years after suspending flights over claims that Tehran's leaders support a Shiite-led uprising in the Gulf kingdom.

Next month's restoration of air service is a rare thaw in relations. Air links with Iran were cut after the beginning of the protests in February 2011 by Bahrain's Shiite majority seeking a greater political voice in the Sunni-ruled nation. Shiite-power Iran has lauded the ongoing demonstrations, but denies giving any direct assistance.

The independent newspaper Al Wasat reported Thursday that flights will resume Dec. 15 to the eastern Iranian city of Mashhad, which has an important Shiite shrine. Gulf Air confirmed the report.

Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.