US supports region's security against Iranian threat

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Manama, July 11 (BNA): US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Peek has affirmed his country’s close consultations with its strategic allies including Bahrain to reduce Iran’s malign influence, bring it to the bargaining table, halt its support of military proxies and terrorism as well as the proliferation of missiles. 

"The discussion in particular highlighted the ways in which Iran attempts to destabilize and provoke conflict in Bahrain through proxies that have their headquarters abroad, other key personnel abroad, and that work to cause cleavages in Bahraini society," he told BNA during a brief visit in Bahrain as part of his regional tour. 

"Since the May 8 announcement that we were withdrawing from the JCPOA, we have been on an intense diplomatic engagement with our allies and partners to both explain our strategy and to win their support for it," he said adding that "One of the problems of the nuclear deal was that we were prevented effectively from sanctioning key individuals, key networks, because either their sanctions had been lifted pursuant to the nuclear deal and thus we could not re-sanction them because of their ties to terrorism – for example the Iranian Central Bank – but also that when we look at activities like Iranian disruption of Bahrain and Iranian attitudes towards Bahrain, we could not impose strategic economic sanctions sufficient enough to cause the Iranians to have to choose: you could either do your malign regional activities or you can have a healthy, thriving economy, but you can’t have both."

"So we discussed the challenges Iran was posing, and then agreed on how to move forward in countering that. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have been extremely supportive of this decision. They face Iran’s desire to destabilize the region and export its brand of ideology into their societies," he said.