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Head of IDF Iran File, Senior Bahraini Diplomat Meet on Threats Posed by Tehran

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

The flags of Israel and Bahrain flutter along a road, in Netanya, Israel, Sept. 14, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Nir Elias.

As heightened tensions with Tehran continued on Tuesday, Israel’s point man on Iran met with Bahraini Undersecretary for International Affairs Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Khalifa in an effort to deepen security ties between the two countries.

IDF Major General Tal Kalman — who heads the military’s Third Circle Directorate, which is focused on Iran — spoke with Khalifa about joint security opportunities and the nations’ common threats in the maritime theater and elsewhere.

Khalifa, who is responsible for relations with Israel at the Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs, arrived on Sunday for a four-day working visit to the country. It was the Bahraini diplomat’s third trip since the two countries normalized ties in September 2020, as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords.

Earlier on Tuesday, Khalifa met with the Chairman of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, Chemi Peres, and the Director General of the Center, Efrat Duvdevani. Along with alumni of the Center’s programs, they discussed issues of coexistence, future challenges, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

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“We have been building this peace for 11 months and this is only the beginning. We have much in common and there is plenty of potential for further close cooperation,” said Khalifa of his meeting with Peres.

He praised the contributions of the late Israeli statesman Shimon Peres to the furthering of peace, noting that “this is why the Peres Center … is an integral part of the strategy for peace between Bahrain and Israel.”

As part of the visit, the Bahraini diplomat also met with Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and President Isaac Herzog, and went diving with Israel’s Foreign Ministry Director General Alon Ushpiz.

“We took advantage of the rare chance for underwater diplomatic etiquette. One knows it is a true friendship when your partner in peace is your diving buddy,” Ushpiz commented.

As chairman of the Derasat — the Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies — Khalifa also signed a “historic agreement” with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs to enhance cooperation against threats posed by Iran’s regional policies.

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