Bahrain interior minister discusses Iranian 'meddling' with top Trump officials

Multi-billion dollar aircraft deal on the agenda at Washington talks

epa06085107 US Secretary of Defense James Mattis (L) welcomes Bahrain's Interior Minister Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa (R) as he arrives at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, USA, 13 July 2017. Bahrain is a member of the Saudi-led bloc of Middle East countries boycotting Qatar for its alleged ties to terrorism.  EPA/SHAWN THEW
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Bahrain’s Minister of Interior Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa discussed the dispute with Qatar and Iranian “meddling” in the kingdom during a series of meetings in Washington with senior Trump officials, a diplomatic source has told The National.

Mr. Rashid bin Abdullah met Defense Secretary James Mattis at the Pentagon on Thursday where the two discussed defence cooperation and arms sales to Bahrain.

The Trump administration had informed Congress last Spring to pursue a $5 billion sale of 19 F-16s to Bahrain, a move that lifted a freeze on the deal by former US President Barack Obama.

The Bahraini minister also met acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Andrew McCabe and other intelligence officials.

The Qatar dispute came up in the meetings, with security cooperation and Iran high on the agenda, the source said. “Counter-terrorism, Iran’s meddling in Bahrain and investigations into pro-Iran cells in the Kingdom” were discussed, the source said.

The security memorandum of understanding signed in 2007 between Manama and Washington was also discussed, with options to update it and broaden the scope of cooperation.

Mr. Rashid bin Abdullah met also met with Homeland Security chief John Kelly, intelligence officials, and Congressional leaders including House Speaker Paul Ryan, Congressman Ed Royce, and Senator John McCain.