Bahrain official: Iran says ‘nothing new’, nuclear deal ‘critical’ to fight ‘common threat’

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Abdullah Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s deputy political minister, insisted that Iran was not acting as a “responsible” neighbor and threatens the stability of the Middle East if it continues to operate “with impunity”.

“Iran has been operating with impunity for the past 40 years,” Khalifa told Fox News Digital in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the Aspen Security Forum last week. “My country, Bahrain, has been part of Iran’s constant meddling in the affairs of its neighbors.”

“We do believe that Iran is an important neighbor in the region, but a responsible Iran that will respect the borders of its neighbors, refrain from developing its nuclear and ballistic capabilities, and refrain from supporting terrorism and extremism,” he added. .

Earlier, Khalifa spoke about concerns about Iran. desire to develop nuclear weapons even if it would affect neighboring countries “in a very dramatic way”.

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But potential nuclear weapons are just one of the many destabilizing actions that Iran is engaging in, as it continues to create problems in the region: Khalifa highlighted Tehran’s penchant for development and financing of proxies in neighboring countries, including the Houthis who operate in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

“There is nothing new about what Iran is doing,” Khalifa insisted, pointing to the 1981 coup attempt by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) against Bahrain, which Iran has consistently denied funding, but which Bahrain continues to attribute to Tehran.

FILE - Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa (left) and U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain William Roebuck (right) greet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (center) upon arrival at Bahrain International Airport in Manama, Bahrain, April 6, 2016.

FILE – Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa (left) and U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain William Roebuck (right) greet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (center) upon arrival at Bahrain International Airport in Manama, Bahrain, April 6, 2016.
(Jonathan Ernst/Poole via AP)

He backed the Iran nuclear deal that President Biden has been trying to revive, calling it a “critical portfolio” that could help address “the common threat we all see.”

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“October 9, 2006, the world woke up to the news that North Korea tests its first nuclear weapon. That was the reality,” Khalifa said. “The world is still grappling with its consequences.”

FILE - President Donald Trump meets with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 21, 2017.

FILE – President Donald Trump meets with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 21, 2017.
(Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

“What if one day we all wake up and find out that Iran has tested its first nuclear weapon? What will happen next?” he said.

Another key element of this security strategy is the Abraham Accords, which Bahrain moved to sign after Israel and the United Arab Emirates initially signed them after negotiations led by the Trump administration.

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Khalifa praised the agreement as another example of the long-standing relationship between the US and Bahrain, which has led to improved relations with other countries in the region.

“The presence of the United States as a protector not only put together the agreements of Abraham but getting Bahrain to sign an agreement to establish joint bilateral relations with Israel is an issue that we very much appreciate in the United States,” he said.

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“We believe that those who have relations with Israel will contribute to the resolution of the conflict, and we believe that a two-state solution, under which the Palestinians will have their own independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital, is the way forward.” forward”.

Kelsey Koberg of Fox News contributed to this report.