On a visit to Israel, a top Bahraini diplomat said the Obama-led 2015 Iran nuclear deal had done nothing but leave the region with more turmoil, violence, hatred and death.
“What did it leave us with?” The Times of Israel cited Sheikh Abdullah bin Ahmad al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Undersecretary for International Relations, as saying at a press briefing at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. “More crises and more chaos in the region.”
Khalifa said Bahrain had initially hoped the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), “would open up a new page for Iran and the region.
“But on the contrary, it has fueled crises across the Middle East. It has increased the number of refugees that have fled into Europe. It has caused more instigation of extremism and hatred in many different regions across the Middle East.”
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“What we see is, speaking from a Bahraini perspective and the experience of my country with Iran, is continuous interference in domestic affairs in my country,” he said. “Support of extremism and terrorism, continuous smuggling of arms and explosives and drugs and narcotics.”
The JCPOA “has caused the death of tens of security forces and innocent civilians and thousands of injured security personnel,” Khalifa said.
“What result did we get out of the JCPOA, remind me?” he said. “Was there any good result that came out of it? I do not think so. For us, we haven’t seen it.”
Khalifa echoed past assertions made by Israeli leaders as well as the Trump administration that the JCPOA fell short because it entirely ignored Iran’s ballistic missile program as well as Tehran’s “malign behavior.”
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“From what we have seen, the malign activities of Iran in the region are continuing,” he said, according to the Times of Israel.
The Trump administration withdrew from the deal in 2018.
The Biden administration attempted to reenter the accord by holding indirect talks in Vienna for the past several months, but the efforts have been scuttled with the advent of newly appointed hardliner Ebrahim Raisi as Iran’s president.
Khalifa recounted how Bahrain’s King Hamid ibn Isa al Khalida had conveyed his congratulations to former Iranian president Hassan Rouhani on the day of the JCPOA’s signing. Two days later, Khalifa recalled, Bahraini security forces caught a weapons shipment that was smuggled from Iran to Bahrain.
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“If you look into the crises across the Middle East, you will find one red thread that would go across all those crises,” he said. “You would find an Iranian finger.
“We want to see a stable Iran, a secure Iran, a prosperous Iran, a responsible Iran, a responsible member of the international community,” Khalifa said. “But we haven’t.”
Khalifa expressed his hope that on September 15, the anniversary of the Trump-led Abraham Accords that saw Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates signing a normalization deal with Israel, the Biden administration would “demonstration a commitment” to its position vis-à-vis Iran.