Bahraini official in Israel blasts Iran: ‘Nuclear deal fueled crisis, hate and extremism’

The 2015 Iran nuclear deal “fueled crises in the Middle East, increased the number of refugees seeking asylum in Europe, and led to hate and increased extremism in many parts of the Middle East,” a Bahraini senior official said while visiting Israel on Sunday. 

By Tobias Siegal, World Israel News

“In every crisis that develops in the Middle East – we can point to the involvement of Iran or its proxies,” Bahrain’s undersecretary for political affairs Abdullah bin Ahmad al Khalifa said on Sunday during his third visit to Israel, Israeli media reported.

The Bahraini senior official arrived in Israel on a four-day working visit on Sunday, a statement by the Foreign Affairs Ministry read. Al Abdallah is the person who was put in charge of the relation with Israel in Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry.

Upon arrival, he met with several Israeli senior officials, including President Isaac Herzog and Foreign Affairs Minister Yair Lapid.

Later, speaking to reporters in Jerusalem, al Khalifa heavily criticized the 2015 deal with Iran.

“We were hoping that the deal would open a new page in the region but the exact opposite happened: it fueled crises in the Middle East, increased the number of refugees seeking asylum in Europe, and led to hate and increased extremism in many parts of the Middle East,” he said.

“I haven’t seen a single good thing come out of the deal, and I’m convinced that Biden’s administration is aware of these concerns and of the messages he has received from other Gulf states,” al Khalifa added.

“We would like to see a stable, safe, prosperous and responsible Iran,” he noted, but blamed Tehran’s “aggressive behavior,” and pointed to the problem of the 2015 deal as “only focusing on the nuclear issue and completely ignoring other issues that concern the area,” such as Tehran’s use of ballistic missiles.

Addressing the recent explosion on the Mercer Street in the Gulf of Oman, which is attributed to Iran, the Bahraini official said that Bahrain will always protect the freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Oman. “For years, Bahrain has cooperated with its allies, primarily the US [on this matter,] and is a member of the joint command for protecting navigational freedom in the region,” al Khalifa said, adding that “these latest attacks are nothing new … we remain committed to cooperating with our allies and maintaining stability.”

Finally, commenting on the relations with Israel, al Khalifa said he was optimistic about future opportunities and collaborations and promised that direct flights between the countries will became available this year, after having been delayed several times because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are determined and committed. Bahrain will support any initiative that will build new bridges and expand the Abraham Accords, which manifest values that we all share. This is a historic moment,” he concluded.