Bahrain’s Ambassador to the US Abdulla R. Al-Khalifa said on Wednesday that the only way to deal with a country like Iran is “to confront it,” in remarks at an event on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
“If you have a country within the region with hegemonic ambitions that aren’t going to change, that really is a problem. The only way to deal with it is to confront it,” said Al-Khalifa at the United Against Nuclear Iran summit.
Al-Khalifa said that there have been dozens of Iranian “acts of war” in the Middle East and Arabian Gulf in the past few years, usually through proxies, from missile and IED attacks to cyberattacks.
“We have to expose how our communities are being exposed by the IRGC [Iranian Revolutionary Guards] … and what we’ve done to push back on their behavior,” said Al-Khalifa.
Al-Khalifa discussed the history of Iran’s interference in the region, providing evidence that Iran’s meddling in foreign affairs is nothing new. He showed a picture of pro-Iranian activists demonstrating on the streets of Bahrain’s capital city of Manama in 2009. Al-Khalifa said that Iran was trying to foment a coup in Bahrain.
“But we pushed back. Otherwise we would have become Lebanon,” Al-Khalifa said, adding that Iran’s leadership has repeatedly tried to overthrow Bahrain’s king.
Amid rising tensions in the region, Al-Khalifa said it was important to stand behind Saudi Arabia.
Bahrain is scheduled to co-host a conference on “maritime and air navigation security” with the US next month.