WASHINGTON – When Bahrain’s foreign minister tweeted an article about Iran by
Israeli’s US envoy, it underscored the shared nature of the Iranian threat,
according to the envoy.
“It shows that the Iranian nuclear program is not
solely an Israel concern but one of the entire Middle East,” Ambassador Michael
Oren told The Jerusalem Post Thursday.
Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid
bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa tweeted a link to a piece Oren posted in The
Wall Street Journal, which appeared on the website on Monday, titled “Time is
short for Iran diplomacy.”
In the piece, Oren warned that Iran’s progress
in its nuclear program demonstrated that diplomacy and sanctions have failed to
end Tehran’s nuclear threat.
“A combination of truly crippling sanctions
and a credible military threat — a threat that the ayatollahs still do not
believe today — may yet convince Iran to relinquish its nuclear dreams,” Oren
But he went on to caution that “time is dwindling and, with each
passing day, the lives of eight million Israelis grow increasingly
Oren stressed that Israel wants to see the issue resolved
diplomatically. But he noted that US President Barack Obama has “affirmed
Israel’s right ‘to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.’” The
ambassador continued, “Historically, Israel has exercised that right only after
exhausting all reasonable diplomatic means. But as the repeated attempts to
negotiate with Iran have demonstrated, neither diplomacy nor sanctions has
removed the threat.”
Gulf states such as Bahrain have long been
understood to fear a nuclear-armed Iran, and US diplomatic cables made available
through WikiLeaks revealed Gulf leaders in some cases calling for military
action to prevent an Iranian bomb.
However, it is extremely rare for an
Arab official to take a public position that seems to endorse that view or to
back an Israeli perspective.