Bahrain's government appears to be pulling back from plans to dismantle the main Shia opposition group after swift criticism from Washington and other allies.
The state-run Bahrain News Agency reported on Friday that authorities are holding off any action until the outcome of investigations into Wefaq party, which played a key role in recent pro-democracy protests, and a smaller Shia bloc.
Bahraini authorities said on Thursday they will seek court approval to dissolve the opposition groups for alleged links to the Shia-led uprising in the Gulf kingdom that hosts the US Navy's 5th Fleet.
The US State Department quickly raised concerns about the plans to block the political groups.
Wefaq has withdrawn its lawmakers from Bahrain's parliament to protest the government's crackdown on dissent, including a declaration of martial law.
The justice ministry said on Thursday it was seeking to ban Wefaq, which called supporters onto the streets in mass protests last month, for "undertaking activities that harmed social peace, national unity, and inciting disrespect for constitutional institutions."
The ministry also moved to ban the Islamic Action party, a Wefaq ally. Wefaq is the biggest party in Bahrain's parliament, holding 18 out of 40 seats.