Iran Renews Claim to Bahrain

(Bloomberg) Hussein Ibish - In recent weeks, Iranian media have been reviving long-dormant claims that Bahrain, a key U.S. ally, is the "14th province" of Iran. Bahrain is vital to American interests: It hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet and the 34-nation Combined Maritime Forces coalition, which pursues missions in antipiracy, maritime security and counterterrorism. History shows Iran's demand is baseless. In 1957, under the shah, Iran formally laid claim to the island, a British protectorate since 1861. However, after heavy British and U.S. pressure and a UN survey showing overwhelming public support in Bahrain for independence, in 1971 Iran recognized the nation as a sovereign state. It's no coincidence Iran is just now ramping up these specious claims, formally resolved half a century ago. Teheran's belligerence raises the stakes surrounding the nuclear talks by threatening greater regional instability. Iran's renewed claims on Bahrain will only reinforce the view in Manama that normalizing relations with Israel was a good idea. The writer is a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.

2022-09-22 00:00:00

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