Manama backs US call for extension of sanctions on Iran
MANAMA - Bahrain backed Monday the United States in its call to extend a United Nations arms embargo on Iran, blaming Tehran for fuelling tensions in the region by arming its proxies and terrorists, according to a joint statement issued by the Kingdom of Bahrain and the US.
The embargo, put in place as part of a nuclear accord signed with Tehran in 2015, is set to expire in October but Washington is working to extend the ban as tensions with its arch-rival remain high.
"In recognising the grave threat posed by Iranian arms transfers in the region, and in Bahrain specifically, the US and Bahrain call upon the United Nations Security Council to extend the arms embargo on Iran before it expires," the joint statement said, according to the Bahraini news agency BNA.
Ahead of the release of the joint statement, US Special Representative for Iran and Senior Adviser to the Secretary of State Brian Hook held discussions on Iran with Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani in Manama.
The two countries accused Iran of seeking to undermine Bahrain’s stability and security "by fomenting sectarian tensions and providing arms to proxy groups and terrorists."
Despite those acts, Bahrain said it has remained true to its values and continued to prioritise “peaceful coexistence and religious freedom for all its people.”
"The US remains committed to Bahrain’s security and to a deep and effective partnership to counter Iranian-backed terror," the statement said.
The embargo is an important tool to counter Iran’s proliferation of arms to proxies, both sides said.
"It promotes greater regional stability and holds Iran accountable for its actions," the statement said, citing Iran's involvement in an attack last September on Saudi oil facility.
"If the international community fails to extend the embargo, the Kingdom of Bahrain and neighbouring partners will suffer the consequences of a destabilising arms race."
The US official visit followed a trip to Riyadh where he had held talks with Saudi officials focusing on Iran.
Shortly after the talks in Riyadh, US and Saudi officials called for extending the arms embargo on Iran, warning of major implications for regional security and accusing Tehran of arming Yemeni rebels.
Lifting the ban would “embolden” Tehran and could trigger a regional arms race, Hook told reporters in Riyadh.
“This is not an outcome that the UN Security Council can accept,” Hook said at a joint news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
Earlier this month, a UN report said cruise missiles and drones used in attacks last year on Saudi oil facilities were “of Iranian origin."
The attacks on Saudi state oil giant Aramco’s facilities caused extensive damage and briefly interrupted production of half of the country’s oil output.