Iran threatens Arab peacemakers, Trump predicts later deal with Tehran

Common perception of Iran as a source of threats is seen as linking the signatories to Tuesday’s full normalisation agreements.
Wednesday 16/09/2020
Iranian President Hassan Rohani speaks during a cabinet meeting, September 16. (DAP)
Iranian President Hassan Rohani speaks during a cabinet meeting, September 16. (DAP)

TEHRAN - Iranian President Hassan Rohani said on Wednesday that the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will be responsible for any “consequences” resulting from their normalisation of relations with Tehran’s arch-foe Israel.

The remarks came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates signed agreements establishing full diplomatic ties at a ceremony at the White House.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting, Rohani said Israel was “committing more crimes in Palestine every day.”

“How could you reach out your hands to Israel? And then you want to give them bases in the region? All the severe consequences that would arise from this are on you,” he said.

An aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that some Gulf states had become “puppets” of the US and Israel in the “vain hope” of getting their support.

“They have pinned their hopes on nothing and built a house on water, and they will pay for this cowardly act,” foreign affairs adviser Ali Akbar Velayati was quoted by Tasnim news agency as saying.

The remarks were made during a meeting of the council of the “International Society for the Islamic Awakening,” Tasnim said.

Iran had previously warned Bahrain that its deal made it a partner to Israel’s “crimes” and accused the UAE of “betraying” the Muslim world.

In 2016, Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Iran and the UAE downgraded relations amid rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic.

Manama has long suspected Iranian involvement in Bahrain protests and aborted terrorists plots.

Bahrain’s interior minister said on Monday that normalising ties with Israel protects Bahrain’s interests and strengthens its strategic partnership with the United States, amid an ongoing threat from Iran.

“It is not an abandonment of the Palestinian cause … it is to strengthen Bahrainis’ security and their economic stability,” Interior Minister Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said in a statement.

Experts believe Tehran is wary of the strategic shift that could underlie peace deals between Israel and Arab countries.

A common perception of Iran as a source of threats is seen as linking the signatories to Tuesday’s full normalisation agreements. Closer cooperation between Arab countries and Israel could limit the margin of manoeuvre by Iran and regional proxies.

US President Donald Trump predicted Tuesday that Tehran, which is believed to be hoping for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden to win the election in November, would eventually reach out to Washington for a deal if it is instead the Republican incumbent who wins re-election.

“We’ll see what happens with Iran, I’d say right after the election, within a period of a week, maybe a month, but within a period, a very short period… literally a very short time, you’ll have Iran coming back and saying let’s get this whole thing worked out,” he said in the oval office.

Trump emphasised that the US’s “maximum pressure” policy against Iran is currently working.

“Iran is suffering, unfortunately, I don’t want them to suffer, but their economy is tanked,” he said. “They have a minus 27 GDP, no one’s ever heard of a number like that…and I think they want to make a deal but they’d rather deal with .. Joe Biden than me,” he added.