Following Iran threats, Israeli intelligence chief visits Bahrain to discuss security

The trip came amid heightened tensions in the region over Iran and negotiations in Vienna to revive the nuclear deal.

By Associated Press and World Israel News

The head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency visited Bahrain for talks with officials on Thursday, the Bahrain state-run news agency reported.

The trip came amid heightened tensions in the region over Iran and followed Israel’s recent deal to normalize relations with the island kingdom.

The brief statement carried by the news agency said only that Yossi Cohen met with Bahrain’s heads of national intelligence and strategic security to discuss “the most prominent security topics, regional developments and issues of common interest.” It did not elaborate.

The two countries opened diplomatic ties last fall in a U.S.-brokered deal under the Trump administration and following the United Arab Emirates’ decision to normalize relations.

The pacts, rejected by the Palestinians as a betrayal of their cause for statehood, signaled an increasingly explicit alliance between Gulf Arab states and Israel against mutual archenemy Iran.

Indirect talks between the U.S. and Iran over a return to Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which former President Donald Trump abandoned, are now gaining traction in Vienna.

Cohen joined an Israeli delegation to Washington recently in a last-ditch effort to convince the Americans not to return to the nuclear deal, but the Biden administration seems intent on renewing the agreement.

Israel and Gulf Arab sheikhdoms previously have voiced concern over a generous American rapprochement with Iran that doesn’t address the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program and support for regional proxies, in addition to its nuclear program.