Manama: Bahrain's foreign minister has ruled out allowing the US to use his country to launch attacks on any country, in an apparent reference to Iran.
"The presence of a US naval base in Bahrain does not mean that Manama will allow its use to launch an attack on any country," Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa said in an interview with the London-based Asharq Al Awsat. "The agreements signed by Manama with Washington are exclusively defence-based and we cannot allow the use of our lands to attack other territories. In fact, there are no attack weapons on the base."
The minister said that the defence agreements were meant to preserve safety and security in the Gulf as a highly significant water way and vital area for global economy.
"Without the presence of international forces in the region, we would have become like the Gulf Aden which lacks the minimum criterion for security and stability," he said.
Shaikh Khalid said that the other five members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) opposed any form of tension in the region and rejected new wars in the region.
In his interview, Shaikh Khalid said that Bahrain did not want a new war in the region.
"We have been exhausted by the wars in the region in the last three decades. The directives of His Majesty King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa are that Bahrain's lands will be used only to defend the country in line with the joint Gulf Cooperation Council action," he told the pan-Arab Saudi paper.
However, Shaikh Khalid said that Bahrain would not remain passive in case it is targeted and referred to the defence agreements it had with "friendly countries" that will be used to repel any attack on the kingdom.
The minister said that he has often communicated Bahrain's position to Iran's leaders.
"I have regularly told the Iranians that Bahrain opposed military strike against Iran and that it would not allow the use of its lands as launch pads to attack other countries," he said.
Last week, senior Iranian officials said that "Tehran would not, in case of a military attack by the US or Israel, confine itself to one single battlefield and would strike back at the interests of the aggressors all across the world."
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei "warned the US against the grave consequences of any military aggression against Iran, stressing that Tehran's response to such an attack will not be limited to Washington's interests in the region," Fars News Agency reported.
Mohammad Karami-Raad, member of Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said that "if military threats to Iran materialised, the nation's counter-attacks will spread to other regions."