Middle East Online MANAMA: Iranian support for subversion in Arab states is as big a threat to the region as the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group, Bahrain's Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said on Saturday at a security conference in Manama.
"These actions are no less a threat to us than Daesh," he said, using the Arabic acronym for the jihadist group and accusing Iran of smuggling arms into Bahrain.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs said that Iran has provided sanctuary and financial support for those charged with conducting terrorist acts in Bahrain.
It hosted Bahraini citizens in IRGC training camps where potential terrorists learn skills such as IED construction, marksmanship, and weapons smuggling.
Iran has also conducted smuggling operations to bring in explosives and weapons including C-4, claymore mines, and AK-47 assault rifles.
He added that as a result, 439 IEDs have been found and safely disposed, or have exploded causing injuries killing 16 police officers and injuring thousands, affirming that these dangerous acts are no less a threat to than ISIS.
On the chances of improving relations with Iran, Sheikh Khaled said that the matter is pending on the behaviour of Iran and its commitment to good neighbourly relations as well as non-interference in the Kingdom’s internal affairs.
"Certainly not when Iranian officials publicly boast about having captured four Arab capitals through their ‘Iranian Islamic Revolution’," he said.
He called on the international community to give priority, just as it did to contain, and hopefully pacify Iran’s nuclear programme, to put an end to Iran’s interference in the affairs of regional states.
He added that the Huthi militia in Yemen, which Gulf states are fighting and accuse of being a proxy for Iran, which the group Tehran both deny, can have a future in the country so long as it disarms and participates in a political solution.
Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa affirmed that the situation in Syria is the most challenging for countries in the region and the crisis is not limited to these countries in view of its multiple grave affects.
He said in a speech during the Plenary Session at the Manama Dialogue entitled (American Policies and Regional Security) that the key challenge in Syria was not merely the existence of terrorist groups but the loss of unity between the Syrian people.