Israel, Bahrain leaders talk about Iran, likely vaccine plant
JERUSALEM (ISRAEL) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain’s Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa on Thursday delved into Iran and the possibility of an involvement of the Gulf state for setting up vaccine plant in Israel, the two countries said.
Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates made official ties with Israel on September 15 in part regarding shared concerns about Iran, in a deal struck by former US President Donald Trump.
Trump pulled out from a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, a move for which Israel was full of praise, objecting to the accord. His successor, President Joe Biden, wants to join the deal again.
However, ever since Washington offered to talk with Tehran about working on the nuclear deal again, Iran has put curbs on UN monitoring and threatened to bolster its uranium enrichment. Tehran refuted claims that it is seeking nuclear weapons.
An Israeli official said on Tuesday that Israel is hoping to refrain from personal tension between Netanyahu, who is aiming for a re-election on March 23, and Biden, when it comes to their differences on Iran policy by assigning talks on the topic to their senior staff.
Netanyahu and Khalifa both released statements about their telephone call on Thursday, however, only the Bahraini announcement had ensured to mention about Iran.
The kingdom’s state media office said on Twitter that their conversation emphasised on the importance for the “countries of the region to take part in any talks about Iran’s nuclear file”.
Netanyahu’s office said he spoke with Khalifa about visiting Bahrain once coronavirus restrictions allow such a possibility.
“The Bahraini regent also stated that he was interested in examining the possibility of Bahrain joining an investment in a vaccine manufacturing plant that is planned to be established in Israel together with other countries,” the statement said.
Netanyahu said on Wednesday he was in discussion with the heads of Pfizer and Moderna to set up facilities in Israel.
Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Inc COVID-19 vaccines is being imported by Israel.
Israel is expecting that trade with Bahrain will be around $220 million in 2021, excluding possible defence and tourism deals.