Iranian President in Bahrain to boost ties, prepare gas export deal

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sought to boost relations with Bahrain on Saturday, assuring this staunch US ally in the Gulf not to fear a military buildup in the region and finalizing an important gas export deal. "Iran doesn't expect any military escalation in the region," Ahmadinejad told reporters during a half-day stop to Bahrain on his way to a summit of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in neighboring Saudi Arabia. The hardline president played down talks of a possible American strike against Iran because of the Islamic Republic's refusal to stop uranium enrichment, which the US and its allies fear could hide a covert nuclear weapons program.