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US And Bahrain Emphasize Necessity To Counter Iran's Influence In Middle East

In their first strategic meeting, the United States and Bahrain emphasized the necessity of cooperation between Washington and the countries of the region to fight the regional influence of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his Bahraini counterpart Abdullatif Al Zayani held their first virtual strategic meeting on Tuesday.

During the meeting, Pompeo thanked Bahrain and its people for their support of Washington's 'maximum pressure' campaign “which has successfully isolated Tehran and cut off tens of billions of dollars for Iranian malign influence and terror.”

Pompeo recognized Bahrain’s contribution to the United States’ mission in the region by hosting the US Naval Central Command and its Fifth Fleet’s headquarters, “ that allows us to collaborate across the board, from fighting terrorism to safeguarding the passage of goods in the Gulf, free from Iran’s maritime attacks.”

Pompeo, the outgoing chief of American foreign policy, stated that the US and Bahrain share key insight into foreign policy: “We’re realists; we see the world as it is.”

“We recognize the violent nature of the revolutionary Iranian regime, and we understand that when it comes to countering Tehran and many other important issues, Israel is a key partner, and not a problem,” he added.

Bahrian with a large Shiite population has been a target of Iran's overt and covert pressures. Because of its close alliance with the US and Saudi Arabia, Iran vehemently criticizes the small Persian Gulf kingdom, while Bharain accuses Tehran of attemps to gain influence among its Shiites and foment trouble in the country.

Bahrain's Foreign Minister Al Zayani said the cooperation between US and UAE goes back 70 to 75 years, and it is now under constant challenge by Iran. “Iran’s malign intent and activities are more blatant than ever.  From its nuclear program to its ballistic missiles, from its interference in other states to its increasingly overt involvement in conflicts, Iran today challenges regional security as aggressively as at any time in recent history,” Al Zayani added.

He called on the international community to “maintain its resolve” and recognize and confront Iran’s destabilizing behavior with “unrelenting pressure on Iran to become a responsible actor.”

Al Zayani emphasized that Bahrain wants its partnership with the US to help expose the ongoing problems caused by “the theocratic regime and its proxies”, and also ensure that Bahrain and other allies in the region will have the capabilities to protect their peoples against these threats.

Both Pompeo and Al-Zayani both referred to the Abrahamic accord as a possibility of “a reconfigured Middle East architecture based on cooperation rather than confrontation.”

In September Bahrain and UAE signed a peace treaty with Israel as part of the Abrahamic Accord orchestrated by the Trump administration.

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