Manama Dialogue highlights Iran’s involvement in Russia-Ukraine war, Tehran protests

Published: Updated:
Enable Read mode
100% Font Size

The Manama Dialogue, a forum hosting government officials and decision makers, saw wide ranging discussions from the deadly anti-regime protests in Iran to the war in Ukraine.

Taking place at the Ritz Carlton in Bahrain, the three-day event ending on November 20, brought together key government officials like EU President Ursula von der Leyen, British Foreign Minister James Cleverly, US CENTCOM chief General Michael Kurilla and Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed al-Khuraiji, among others.

For all the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

The event, organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) since 2004, has been a platform to discuss the latest challenges in foreign policy, defense, and security in the Middle East.

The 18th edition of the event this year has been themed ‘Rules and Competition in the Middle East.’

Historically, the event has promoted collective strength as a solution to global and regional challenges. This year, it hoped to tackle Iranian threats looming over the Middle East and the destabilizing effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Iran’s role in regional, international peace

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen set the tone on Friday during a keynote warning the world of the global threat stemming from Iran.

“Several Gulf countries have been warning for years about the risk that Iran feeds rogue nations around the world with drones,” von der Leyen said in Bahrain.

“It took us too long to understand a very simple fact that while we work to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, we must also focus on other forms of weapons proliferation, from drones to ballistic missiles.”

“It is a security risk not just for the Middle East, but for us all,” she added at the Bahrain event.

The EU chief also hinted at more sanctions against the Islamic Republic. EU nations have already imposed sanctions on senior Iranian security officials and the “morality police,” saying the force had used threats of detention and violence to control what Iranian women wear and how they behave in public.

The country has been rocked by protests since the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin, after her arrest for an alleged breach of Iran’s dress rules for women.

The deadly demonstrations were fanned by fury over the dress rules for women, but have grown into a broad movement against the theocracy that has ruled Iran since the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

The following day, Britain’s foreign minister slammed Iran for “spreading bloodshed” and vowed to work with allies to counter Tehran at another keynote at the Manama Dialogue.

“Iranian-supplied weapons threaten the entire region,” British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said.

“The regime has resorted to selling Russia the armed drones that are killing civilians in Ukraine.”

He also spoke about how Russia’s President Vladimir “Putin’s war is inflicting yet more suffering on Syrians and Yemenis, who were already enduring the privations of humanitarian emergency, and ordinary Lebanese, caught up in an economic crisis.”

“Putin is losing. It should be dawning on other regimes, who might have been tempted to behave similarly, that most of the world is determined to ensure that aggression does not pay,” he added.

Regional security

“What the United States is doing in the Middle East is building a regional architecture together with our partners in order to enhance cooperation, deter adversaries, and set the terms for a more stable, more integrated future,” remarked US Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Colin Kahl.

It followed an announcement from CENTCOM where a US-led task force will deploy over 100 unmanned vessels in the Gulf region’s waters by next year to stave off maritime threats.

Kahl then linked Putin’s actions as catalyst for violence in other parts of the world: “Putin is not only threatening transatlantic peace and security. Left unchecked, Russia's actions would embolden would-be aggressors in other theaters, especially in the Middle East and the Indo-Pacific.”

“The starkest reminder that one region's problems do not stay in that region is the Iranian transfer of attack drones and possibly missiles to the battlefield in Ukraine. Iranian drones are killing Ukrainian civilians, just as they have struck targets in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, targeted Israeli and US forces, and attacked international shipping,” Kahl added in his keynote.

Dr Nayef al-Hajraf, Secretary General of the GCC, echoed the EU chief’s comments and denounced the role of Iran in supporting the Houthis in Yemen and for playing a role in “destabilizing” world peace.

“Restoring peace, security and prosperity in the Middle East requires respect for sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs. Working together is a must,” he added.

With Agencies

Read more:

Iran ‘spreading bloodshed’ from Middle East to Kyiv: UK’s Cleverly

Over 100 unmanned vessels to be deployed in Gulf region’s strategic waters: CENTCOM

Iran weapons expansion is risk ‘to us all’: EU chief warns

Top Content Trending