Bahraini diplomat Sheikh Abdulla bin Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa (left) with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem, Aug. 8, 2021. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Al Khalifa Lapid

“I did not see a single positive thing coming out of this agreement.”

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

A Bahraini diplomat kicked off a four-day visit to Israel on Sunday by blasting Iran and the JCPOA nuclear agreement.

The Gulf state’s Undersecretary for International Relations, Dr. Shaikh Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, is working with Israeli officials to lay the groundwork for a forthcoming meeting between Foreign Ministers Yair Lapid of Israel and Abdullatif Al Zayani of Bahrain.

Al Khalifa said that when Iran and the Western powers signed the 2015 nuclear agreement, Bahrain hoped the 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.”

“I did not see a single positive thing coming out of this agreement, and I’m sure the Biden administration is aware of the concerns in the region and the messages he had received from Gulf states,” Khalifa added.

He also denounced Iran for destabilizing the region and meddling in the affairs of regional states.

“In any crisis in the Middle East, we can point to the involvement of Iran and its proxies. We want to see Iran stable, secure, prosperous and responsible – and we do not see that. The nuclear deal focused only on the nuclear issue, but ignored other issues that troubled the region: Tehran’s ballistic missiles and aggressive behavior,” Al Khalifa said.

“When you look at the crises in the Middle East, you can see Iran’s fingerprints everywhere. Unfortunately, the agreement did not address Iran’s aggressive behavior and its ballistic missile program.”

Al Khalifa’s itinerary includes meetings with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, President Isaac Herzog and Foreign Ministry officials. Visits to a number of civil society organizations and think tanks are also on the agenda for ways to advance bilateral ties.

Israel agreed to normalize ties with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates with the 2020 Abraham accords. Over the course of the year, high-level diplomatic visits were repeatedly postponed because of Covid restrictions, Israeli election campaigns and other scheduling difficulties.

Lapid visited the UAE in July and inaugurated Israel’s embassy in Abu Dhabi.

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