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Bahraini Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid speaks at Manama Dialogue on Saturday. Image Credit:

Cairo: Iran’s meddlesome acts in the Arab world were at the focus of a major security forum in Bahrain on Saturday with senior officials blaming Tehran for regional instability.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash said Iran’s expansionist policy was a reason for instability in the region, calling for “firm” measures to stabilise the vital area.

His call comes amid months-old tensions resulting from a string of attacks on commercial vessels in the Gulf and on Saudi oil facilities for which Iran was squarely blamed.

“It is necessary that Iran’s ballistic missile crisis is solved through joint regional diplomatic efforts,” Dr Gargash said in remarks at the Manama Dialogue, an annual security summit in the Bahraini capital, according to Al Arabiya TV.

Addressing the same forum, Saudi Minister of State Adel Al Jubeir sharply criticised the Iranian policies and warned against appeasing Tehran.

“Appeasement did not work with Hitler and won’t work with the Iranian regime,” Al Jubeir said.

He said that his country is not opposed to dialogue with Iran. “But deterrence should continue to prevent Iran from repeating attacks,” he said.

“The region is facing a choice between good and evil after the attack on installations of Saudi Aramco.”

Saudi Arabia and the US have pointed the accusing finger at Iran for the September 14 attack on Aramco’s two oil facilities that temporarily disrupted the kingdom’s crude production.

Al Jubeir said Saturday that Saudi Arabia was waiting for results of an international inquiry into the attack.

In recent months, tensions have heightened between the US and Iran after President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran. The US also imposed a series of sanctions that have taken a toll on the Iranian economy.

Bahraini Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad on Saturday accused Iran of continuing to meddle in Arab affairs.

“Unfortunately, there are countries in the region that prefer confrontation to cooperation and behave in ways that threaten the safety and security of neighbouring states,” he said at the Manama Dialogue.

“The primary example of this is Iran. It is truly unfortunate that Iran continues to interfere in the affairs of the region and continues its attempt to impose its hegemony,” Shaikh Khalid added.

“In my country Bahrain, we have experienced the full brunt of Iran’s interference for almost 40 years.”

He said that the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council of which Bahrain is a member, “have never and will never advocate regime change” in Iran. “We have never and will never interfere in Iran’s internal affairs.”

Shaikh Khalid described the GCC countries, Egypt and Jordan as the cornerstones of regional stability. “The GCC, Egypt and Jordan are major contributors to peace and security, not only in the region, but the world. The United States is and will remain an integral part of the stability, security and prosperity of the region,” he said.