A senior Bahraini official visiting Israel warned on Sunday that restoring the nuclear deal with Iran would be counterproductive.
The kingdom’s undersecretary for political affairs at the Foreign Ministry, Abdulla bin Ahmed bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, met with reporters and said that the 2015 nuclear deal between the world powers and Tehran “did not contribute anything positive.”
He noted that “the deal only addressed Iran’s nuclear program, not with its missile program or its regional aggression.”
The comments were made against the ongoing tension between Israel and Iran over suspected Iranian attacks on Israeli-linked vessels. A de facto coalition has been formed between Sunni Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia and Israel to counter Iran’s growing interference and violence through proxies in Yemen, Lebanon and Syria. The Abraham Accords, which are a series of normalization deals between Israel and four Arab countries brokered by the Trump administration, have helped cement this unofficial alliance, especially as the new administration in Washington continues to engage Iran on a new nuclear deal that could see major provisions from 2015 restored.
The Bahraini official stressed on Sunday that “Iran continues to meddle in the internal affairs of my country, and sends explosives and weapons, as well as kills and injures thousands.” He lamented that “this has continued for many years and you can find Iran’s footprints in every regional flashpoint.” He said the deal failed to produce any meaningful change when it comes to Iran’s aggression, and that “it only worsened the crisis.”
Al Khalifa said he was optimistic that the U.S. would listen to the detractors of the 2015 deal before signing off on a new accord with the ayatollah regime. “I believe that the ties with an ally like Israel will help in this regard. This is a joint challenge and deals with the future of everyone in this region.”
Al Khalifa, who is in charge of handling the ties with Israel in the Bahraini Foreign Ministry, is scheduled to stay in Israel for four days. This is his second visit to the Jewish state. He has so far met with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and was expected to meet President Yitzchak Herzog as well.
Meanwhile, an agreement for cooperation was signed on Sunday between two think tanks in both countries.
The agreement is between the Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat) headed by Al Khalifa, and the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, headed by former director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Dore Gold.
“The Jerusalem Center is the first research institute in Israel to sign cooperation agreements with think tanks in both the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. We intend to expand collaboration to other countries within the framework of the Abraham Accords and beyond,” the JCPA said in a statement.
Gold said the following before the signing ceremony: “We at the JCPA decided to create a network of research institutes in the Persian Gulf region and in other countries. Our goal is to create an array of cooperation agreements with the countries of the Abraham Accords and to convey a message to the United States, Europe and other countries of a realistic understanding of the challenges that we share – the danger of Iran’s policies in the region and in the world.”
Amb. Gold added that the current naval incidents make collaborations such as these all the more timely and important.