Bahrain Confab Not Conducive to Mideast Peace, Security
EghtesadOnline: The security conference hosted by Bahrain will only spread propaganda and not help stabilize the Middle East, a lawmaker said.
"One cannot bring up the subject of security in the region while Iran and influential countries of the region are absent," Ali Najafi, a senior member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said in an interview with ISNA.
Representatives of 60 countries met in Bahrain's capital Manama on Monday and Tuesday to discuss maritime security following attacks on tankers in the Persian Gulf and Saudi oil installations, AFP reported.
The United States, other western states and Saudi Arabia blame the attacks on Tehran, which denies any involvement, according to Financial Tribune.
A representative from Israel also attended the two-day meeting, despite Tel Aviv's lack of relations with Manama.
The meeting's participants belong to the Maritime and Aviation Security Working Group formed in February during a Middle East conference in Warsaw, Poland.
That conference, co-sponsored by Poland and the US, was originally billed as part of global efforts to counter Iran’s alleged aggressions, but was later toned down and instead focused on the vaguer goal of seeking Middle East stability.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote a letter to the Manama meeting's participants, saying the meeting "comes at a critical moment in history".
"The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction [WMD] and their means of delivery, whether by air or sea, poses a serious threat to international peace and security," he wrote.
"Together, we must all be committed to taking the necessary actions to stop countries that continue to pursue WMD at great risk to all of us," Pompeo contended, in apparent reference to Iran, despite the country’s clear declaration that its defense doctrine is exclusively based on development of conventional weapons meant for deterrence.
Tension between Tehran and Washington has risen since the United States abandoned a multinational deal on Iran's nuclear program last year and reimposed heavy sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Not an Importable Commodity
Najafi stressed that security is not an importable commodity that can be supplied by foreigners to a region.
"Regional states need to ensure security themselves and work out mechanisms to strengthen peace and security in the region," he said.
The lawmaker stressed that intervention by extra-regional countries only indicates their will to advance their own interests, which cannot promote peace.
Stressing Iran's willingness for friendship and cooperation for ensuring regional peace, Najafi said Bahrain and other Persian Gulf states need to come to terms with their neighbors over the issue.
"A clear example [of Iran's offer of collaboration] is the [Iranian] president's proposal named Hormuz Peace Endeavour that prepares the ground for cooperation between Iran and other countries of the region," he said.
President Hassan Rouhani unveiled a peace plan during the United Nations General Assembly last month, which invites all Persian Gulf states as well as the United Nations to work together to guarantee security in the region.
This came as an alternative to the American-led naval coalition to protect navigation in the strategic Persian Gulf waters, which has been joined by Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Britain and Australia so far.
Most European states have declined to participate, fearful of undermining their efforts to save the nuclear accord with Iran.