Minister of Foreign Affairs holds press conference with U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Senior Advisor to Secretary of State
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, affirmed the Kingdom’s appreciation of the continuous efforts exerted by the United States of America to preserve the security and stability of the countries of the region and defend their interests, highlighting the efforts of the US Navy in protecting international trade and navigation routes in the Arabian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Red Sea and Bab Al-Mandab.
This came during a press conference held between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Senior Advisor to Secretary of State, Brian Hook، who is on an official visit to a number of countries in the region to discuss the latest political and security developments.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs noted the meeting of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister, Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, with the U.S. Representative for Iran, where they affirmed the strength of cooperation and strategic partnership between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs also noted the discussion session he held with Mr. Hook, which dealt with relations of cooperation and joint coordination between the two friendly countries, where he stressed the importance of the efforts undertaken by the United States of America to extend the arms embargo to Iran, and to tighten the sanctions imposed on it due to Iran's behavior in the region, as it provided arms to militias in Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq, and its continued interference in the internal affairs of the countries of the region, in addition to its insistence on not adhering to the principles of the United Nations Charter.
Dr. Al-Zayani pointed out that the Kingdom of Bahrain has firmly faced all Iranian interference in its internal affairs, where the Bahraini competent security services were able to thwart many Iranian terrorist schemes, and arrest members of the terrorist organizations entrusted with carrying out these plans with the support of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah. He also pointed to Iran's support for terrorists and extremists in Bahrain with weapons, explosives and training, which resulted in the killing of 35 civilians and a security officer, and wounded about 3500 civilians and security personnel, many of them seriously injured or with permanent disabilities, in addition to nearly 29,000 sabotaging acts.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs said that the two sides underscored the necessity of facing Iranian interference in the internal affairs of the countries of the region, stopping the direct support provided by Iran to Hezbollah terrorist groups, extremist militias and the Houthi group in Yemen, and ending its attempt to impede the efforts aimed at reaching a political solution to the Yemeni crisis. They also agreed that Iran stands behind the hostilities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, by attacking the Saudi Aramco oil installations, and by the Houthi bombing of populated areas with ballistic missiles and Iranian-made drones.
Dr. Al-Zayani reaffirmed the support of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the American efforts to address the repercussions of the Iranian nuclear file, including Iran's continuation of its program to develop ballistic missiles, especially those capable of carrying nuclear warheads, stressing the need for Iran to adhere to the agreement on its nuclear program. In this regard, he noted that the GCC countries have always demanded that the Arab Gulf region and the Middle East be made free of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs also stressed that the Kingdom of Bahrain has always been calling for normal relations with Iran based on the principles of good neighborliness, non-interference in internal affairs and the need to amicably and peacefully resolve disputes through constructive dialogue, which reflects the Kingdom’s keenness on achieving peace and stability in the region.
For his part, Mr. Hook praised the vision of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on promoting and establishing the values of tolerance and religious freedom in the Kingdom of Bahrain, hailing the Kingdom’s achievements in various field. He also highlighted the strength of relations between the two countries, lauding the strategic role of the Kingdom of Bahrain in enhancing stability and security, making the Kingdom the best ally in the region for the U.S.
Mr. Hook expressed his pleasure in meeting His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Mr. Hook addressed the weapons smuggled by Iran to its proxies in the Kingdom of Bahrain, stressing the necessity of extending the arms embargo on Iran, as this embargo has lasted for thirteen years and has been effective in undermining the access of weapons exported by Iran to its proxies in the region and in the Kingdom of Bahrain, emphasizing that the expiration of this embargo will enable Iran to strengthen its stockpiles of arms and enhance its maritime capabilities, which threatens navigation and trade.
Mr. Hook said that the international community should listen to the countries of the region that refuse to lift the arms embargo, stressing that lifting the embargo will undermine security in the region, which is not acceptable by the UN and is considered a breach of everything written in the United Nations Charter aiming to enhance security and stability.
Mr. Hook stated that the United States of America will work to prevent the lift of arms embargo on Iran, until Iran changes its behavior and stops supporting terrorist organizations and attacking its neighbors in the region, stressing that this embargo will continue with the support and efforts of states in the region and the efforts of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Mr. Hook noted that the United States of America added the Iranian-backed organization of Saraya al-Ashtar to its terror list, which was responsible for a number of terrorist acts in the Kingdom of Bahrain, as they carried out a bombing attack in 2014 that killed two policemen, and another one in 2017 which resulted in the death of a policeman, confirming that the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States of America will continue their partnership in order to combat such terrorist organizations.